Heeeello everybody!

It's me again and I'm ready to present: More fruits of my labor! Ha! Guess I simply couldn't hold it back any longer after all of your kind words of motivation! Thanks a lot for that!

I can't promise that chapter 2 will be posted as fast as this one though... I have a lot of things to handle during the next week and yeah... always keep in mind that I will finish this piece of work, no matter what.

To Milamber: My story will cover both of our favorite lions' lifes as cubs and as young adults. That's a promise. ;)

Anyways, enjoy the chapter and don't forget to tell me what you think about it!

Chapter 1: Acquaintances

Nala emitted an exhausted snort as she walked away from the waterhole near Pride Rock. When she reached a nearby tree, she slumped down in its shadow and curled up into a ball, preparing herself for a nap to pass the time.

The young princess had spent the whole last week trying to build up a friendship with one of the other cubs, but somehow had failed miserably.

"How hard can it possibly be to make a friend?" She grumbled to herself and sighed with resignation. She slowly closed her eyes, hiding her sea-blue orbs behind furry eyebrows, but sleep never came. No matter how hard she tried, Nala couldn't get rid of the thoughts about the few other young lionesses.

The point wasn't that they had been mean or anything, but on the contrary! Whenever she found one of the cubs - she indeed had to find them because they seemed to be hiding from her - they would be ridiculously kind, always anxious about not saying anything that could offend Nala somehow.

At the beginning, she had imagined that the cubs were that reluctant because she was the princess after all, and that things would soon get better if they only got to know each other properly, but that idea had been proven wrong after Nala's father had showed up one time to come check on her. At first, the young lioness had fought back a few giggles as she had seen the eyes of the other cubs go wider than even possible, but she had quickly realized that the reason for that wasn't just admiration or respect, but sheer fear. They were totally terrified of Mufasa!

As Nala lay there under the tree, she frantically tried to figure out what made her father so scary. Sure, he was all big and mighty, but he neither yelled nor swore at any point. He treated all of the other grown lionesses like family and as long as there were no reports of hyenas creeping through the Pridelands, he wore a friendly smile on his face. He had a gentle voice, although pretty loud at times, and Nala could tell that he was one who would never deny cuddling with her or her mother. No matter how hard she tried, she wasn't able to find anything scary about her dad and that made her even more depressed.

Whilst sunken deep into her thoughts, Nala didn't realize that another cub was standing right behind her by now, glancing down on her quizzically.

Only a loud cough accompanied by a more or less friendly "excuse me?" finally ripped the princess out of her reasoning.

"What?" She snarled back with her eyes still shut, clearly annoyed by the disturbance.

Nala waited for a response, but only heard someone mutter something under his breath that suspiciously sounded like a "… what a grumpy kitty…", before trying to cover it up with the clearing of his throat.

She immediately jumped to her feet and turned towards the voice, an angry growl leaving her maw.

Even though she didn't show it, the young female was slightly taken aback as the bold disturber turned out to be a male lion about her age with bright golden fur, a peach-colored belly and a small scarlet tuft at the end of his tail.

Oh, she wanted to yell at him so badly, to tell him who he was talking to, but something prevented her from such a thing and, surprisingly that wasn't only the fact that her status had scared away all of her other potential friends before.

She was somehow caught by the smile of the male, that wide smile that tried to look innocent but simply wouldn't. It almost seemed to be promising… fun.

Nala narrowed her eyes and decided to play a little game with her new acquaintance.

"What did you say?" She asked with a sharp voice and the wannabe 'innocent' smile of her opponent widened even more.

"Um… nothing at all…" The golden cub lied without even blushing "Look, I don't want to sound fussy or something, but that spot you are lying on… well… is mine."

I bet it is… Nala thought to herself and a grin crept onto her face as she laid back down exactly where she was lying before, her head held high.

"Oh, really?" She finally asked, her voice nearly dripping with sarcasm, "Since when?"

"Since this morning." The cub answered boldly and the princess had a hard time to keep her unimpressed mask on. She really hadn't expected such a kind of honesty.

"That's too bad for you, I rather like this spot here and I don't think that I'll leave anytime soon…", she managed to state unfazed, making herself demonstratively comfortable again.

"But if it's so important to you," Nala added while grinning mischievously, "I'm sure you could challenge me for it."

Simba couldn't deny that he was pretty impressed by the lioness's persistence. Compared with all the other females he had met recently, she definitely had some guts, and that made her pretty… interesting. However, he wasn't one to give up his spot so easily. She wanted him to challenge her and that he would do, but not before he had teased her a bit further.

"My mother told me that I shouldn't hurt a girl on purpose, no matter how conceited they are, and being the well-behaved cub that I am, it would rudely go against my treasured moral values to oblige your request for that matter." Was what he responded with a 'matter-of-fact' voice and he was sure that he had her now. Oh, how wrong he was.

"I'm sure your mother only wanted to protect you from a girl's temper... it is quite obvious that you most likely couldn't handle it." The lioness shot back cockily while inspecting the unsheathed claws of one of her fore-paws.

Touché. Was the only thing Simba could think of as he licked his dry lips, searching for something smooth to reply.

He felt that the female cub was eyeing him and that she had a clearly satisfied expression set on her face, satisfied because she knew she had trapped him.
"Come on, try me." She taunted him, "I won't bite you…too hard."

"Well spoken…" Simba mumbled and crouched down into a pouncing position "Let's see if your teeth are as sharp as your tongue is!"

And with that he leaped at the female, making them roll through the low grass in a ball of limbs, heads and tails.

"Now, what… happened to… your 'treasured moral values?" The girl panted eventually, both cubs still trying to gain the upper hand in their little play fight.

"You crushed them when you laid down in my spot!" Simba answered between quick breaths as they separated for a moment, circling each other estimating.

After some two rounds, the young lion thought that he had found a little gap in his opponents cover and rushed towards it with full force. Unfortunately, the lioness seemed to be pretty quick in reacting, and with almost no effort, she was able to use his speed and weight against him, rolling him over onto his back and pinning him down with a lout 'thud', her paws on his chest.

Simba tried to free himself instantly, but soon had to concede that he was immobile under her and that he indeed had just lost a fight against a girl.

"What a lovely view…" The lioness mocked "I can almost see your confidence shattering into thousands of pieces from up here."

"Very funny." Simba grumbled, clearly embarrassed. The female giggled and enjoyed her victory for a few more moments until she got off him, without helping him back onto his feet.

As she turned her back on him, heading towards the tree to claim her freshly gained spot in the cool shade, Simba sensed a chance of revenge, even though it was a bit backstabbing.

He crouched down again, eyes narrowed, and with his most powerful… well... mew, he leaped at the supposedly unknowing cub once more. It soon turned out that she wasn't as unsuspecting as he expected her to be and thus it was that she easily avoided his attack with a small step to her right, making him crash onto a sandy spot, his face taking most of the fall.

Simba coughed and groaned in pain as he tried to get back onto his feet whereas the girl lay on her back, holding her belly with laughter.

"You… trapped m…- achoo!" - His wannabe-reproachful statement was interrupted by a huge sneeze that even made him emit a little dusty cloud from his nose, making his opponent laugh even harder.

At that point, Simba couldn't hold back a small grin of himself either.

"O-only…" The creamy colored lioness still giggled, tears brimming in her eyes "Only because you decided to be such a sore loser."

"I guess I did…" The young golden lion cub admitted with a downcast gaze as he slowly swallowed the last remains of his pride, "You fought pretty well though… for a girl." The female, still lying on the ground, rolled her eyes at that statement.

"Wow. Thanks. You're such a charmer." She replied sarcastically.

Simba slowly walked up to her, his famous 'not-so-innocent' smile appearing once more as he offered her a paw.

"You can call me Simba." He stated with a wink and the lioness hesitated only a short moment until she accepted his offer, returning a small smile of hers.

"Nala." She replied quietly as she stood upright again and Simba's eyes slightly widened, however, he could sense that his opponent seemed to be very uncomfortable with his new little revelation.

"You mean… like… Princess Nala?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.

"No!" Nala yelled, making Simba flinch from her sudden outburst. She instantly calmed down again, sighing sadly.

"Just… Nala. Don't call me like that." She pleaded, her voice trembling slightly.

Looks like she already had a hard time with being princess and all…, the golden cub reasoned with himself, considering the fact that he had found her all alone under his… well… now her tree whereas all the other lionesses he knew always kept their little group around them. However, after he had successfully banished the few pictures of a certain huge golden king, trying to eat him alive, from his mind, he came to the decision that he didn't care at all if Nala was royalty or not. He had a fun time with her and for him that was all that mattered.

So, being the taunting cub he was, he bowed as low as possible to Nala, speaking in the most formal voice he could muster, "Why, if your highness insists, I shall do my best to bridle that tongue of mine…"

Oh, Simba was sure that he would have died a thousand deaths if looks could kill.

"I'm going to get you back for that." Nala snarled as she prepared to tackle him and the golden cub was not the one to waste any more seconds before he bounded off as fast as he could, closely chased by a dearly pissed princess.

It really didn't take too long for the "race for life and death" to change into a quite normal game of tag though, in which both cubs were pretty dead even, a fact that the male appreciated only too willingly after he just received his little beat-up.

Eventually, Nala and Simba were too exhausted to continue their play and they laid down beside each other at a respectful distance between them, simply gazing at the clouds.

"So," Simba started after they had fully recovered from their little activity, looking at his new friend the best he could from his current position "what's it like to be the only one around with a father?"

"Well, it's nothing really too special... " Nala answered truthfully, still staring at the sky "mostly just another pair of eyes watching every step you take. Plus he tends to scare all the other cubs away."

"I don't think he's that scary…" The golden male claimed, trying to sound as unfazed as he possibly could.

"Oh, really?" Nala asked looking at him suspiciously.

"Yeah. I saw him talking to my mother once and he seemed to be a quite decent fellow." He replied smoothly, but couldn't help to avoid her glances.

"Well, in that case I should introduce you two in the near future." The lioness suggested devilishly and Simba felt how his mouth went all dry in an instant.

"Uhh… y-yeah… that would be… nice." He stammered, not sounding too brave anymore.

He knew that Nala smirked widely, but to his relief, she didn't push the matter any further.

"You are the cub that lives with Sarafina, aren't you?" The princess asked after a few minutes of silence.

"Yep. She's my mother after all…" Simba replied grinning, making Nala's question sound a bit stupid on purpose.

"Oh… well… I just heard that you… uh… you know… that…"

"That I'm adopted?" The young lion chuckled and his new friend nodded, a bit embarrassed.

"I know that I am. Sarafina, told me very early, but I still consider her as my mom and she's the best for that matter. I love her just like you love yours."

"I see." Nala smiled and Simba could tell that she was pretty impressed with the way he handled the loss of his real parents.

True, it was sad that he wasn't meant to ever meet them and that nobody knew who they were or where they were from, but he wasn't as alone as some people might think he was. Sarafina had always been there for him and she was the best mother he could ever imagine.

"What's it like?" The voice of Nala interrupted his stream of thoughts and Simba blinked his way back into reality.

"Pretty normal, I suppose. Well… that is… if you disregard the fact that my rather exotic coat makes me way more handsome then every lion you'll ever meet will be." He answered slyly and his chest almost swell with pride as he heard Nala's sweet laughter. Making people laugh was always an aim he liked to achieve.

"Oh, that cockiness of yours will never break, will it?" She giggled as she rolled onto her belly and Simba followed her example, grinning deviously as he shook his head.
"Not a chance."

They chuckled for a few more moments, but the laughter subsided at some point.

"So…" The golden lion stalled for time, thinking about something to avoid an awkward silence "uh… what are you going to do tomorrow?"

"Oh, I don't know…" She replied and the corners of her mouth lifted mischievously "probably just relaxing under my new tree… enjoying the wonderful surroundings… what about you?"

"Well, probably going to challenge you for what is rightfully mine!"

"Sounds like a plan…" She spluttered "a rather foolish plan. You should go work on your clumsy technique first!"

"Clumsy?!" He snapped with a wounded pride and flattened ears "And what would your Majesty suggest me to do?"

They both stood up in silent agreement and turned towards Pride Rock, where both of their dens were.

Nala still grinned and suddenly bumped Simba's hip with hers, making him stumble over his own feet.

"You could ask my dad for some advice…" She recommended with a wink.

"Uh… oh… well I-I…" The golden cub stammered "I uhh… will… consider it… thanks."

Meanwhile, King Mufasa had finished his rounds and was just returning to Pride Rock. It wasn't really hard to tell that he was by far not as cheerful as he used to be during the last few weeks.

He had seen things… terrible things, in his opinion.

"Please, great kings, stand by me…" Was what he had mumbled all the way home.

The lion almost instinctively searched for the source that had brought his soul peace and comfort since his early childhood, the one and only that might put him to ease.

He finally found Sarabi lying outside of their den, enjoying the last of the day's sun rays with closed eyes.

If it wasn't for his huge size, he must have reminded every spectator of a sore little cub, as he lowered himself there next to his mate, loudly audible and without saying aword.

Sarabi only smiled and said nothing either, but settled her head on her love's paws, starting to slowly nuzzle into his soft chest.

"Alright…" She started after a few minutes and lifted her head to softly butt it against Mufasa's, trying to get some of her affection back "what's bothering you, My Dearest?"

At first, the king only grumbled something unintelligible into his lioness's fur, but it didn't take too long until he gave in.

"I saw Nala today… rolling around with another cub." He finally revealed.

"Now, I can't see what's so bad about that, you seemed to scare all of the little lionesses away after all, and Nala was pretty upset about that." She responded, her eyes still closed.

"I saw her rolling around with… Simba." Mufasa stated more precisely.

"Oh my…" Sarabi chuckled what made her husband frown even some more "Looks like someone has to rethink his little 'I-will-shred-every-male-who-touches-my-princess' principle."

"Don't you think that teasing me is a little inappropriate?" Mufasa freed himself out of the warming embrace, slightly offended, but his mate quickly turned his head back towards her with her paws and gave him a little peck on his lips.

"Sorry…" She smiled "it's just way too amusing how the overprotective father pouts like an infant only because his little girl befriended a male."

"It's far more serious than that!" Mufasa insisted "They may be friends now, but… uhm… you know what usually happens when two hang out for too long! Besides, I betrothed Nala to King Kimoni's cub only one week ago… what's his name again?"

"Jitu." The queen answered and her look went from playful to dead-serious "And you know that I only agreed to that because you promised me to not force Nala into anything she doesn't want to."

He avoided her forceful gaze and sighed, before answering in a quiet voice, "I did and I will keep that promise. I couldn't look at my own reflection if it was my fault that my little sunshine has to spend the rest of her days in grief."

Sarabi looked at her mate for a few more seconds, clearly satisfied with his words.

"Good. Now come here…" She ordered softly as she crawled on top of him, nuzzling him lovingly "your queen needs some affection."

Mufasa complied happily, a little peace settling over his features at last, as he returned her actions.

"They shouldn't grow too close anyways…" He mumbled nonetheless, sending a grin to his wife's face once again.

"I think you perfectly know that the little princesses never fall for the ones they are supposed to fall for…" She replied slyly.
"Oh, how promising…."

That's it! I dearly hope you liked it and I will hurry to bring up another chapter as soon as possible (like I said: No promises for now).



Random fact of the day: A leopard and a panther are the same kind of animal but with different coat color. (I didn't know that… did you?)