I thank all of you guys for your reviews! I could have never imagined to be so successful with only two chapters! Really, thanks a lot! :)
Yes, I know that it took me quite some time to come up with this chapter, but hey, I have warned you guys before, didn't I? Anyways, let's talk about the story, shall we?
It's quite possible that this chapter is a bit less content-related than the last two, but I hope that you'll like it nonetheless. This time, I tried to give some background information and maybe one or two smirks will creep onto some of your faces, who knows ;)?
To Milamber: Don't worry, Simba and Nala's love will be anything but easy. I have some things in mind ;). And don't worry about typos as well... English isn't my mother tongue either.
Now, enough talk. Enjoy your reading! ;)
Chapter 2: Despite the Father's Wrath
The sun had already started to set for quite some time as Nala sat on top of Pride Rock and watched two silhouettes disappear behind a low hill in the distance.
Somehow, she wanted to make sure that they really were gone from her future lands, but she couldn't tell why. It might have sounded weird, but the two shadows on the horizon, belonging to King Kimoni and his son Jitu, seemed to simply not fit into the Pridelands.
As Nala's eyes slowly wandered to the setting sun, she signed loudly, her thin dark eyebrows curling in annoyance.
"Almost a whole day wasted!" Was what she grumbled and she stood up and turned around to leave, even more irritated by hearing the thing she thought aloud.
She was honest to herself: Yes, she had been really looking forward to today, but that made the disappointment only double in intensity.
Her father had told her that a king and a prince from another pride would visit them, which was pretty awesome compared to the rather monotone life she lived as a cub, and to top it all, she was to be free to spend the whole day as she liked, as long as she took the foreign cub with her. After all, Nala loved to make new friends, so this one condition didn't bother her at all, but what DID bother her, was that the permission to do 'everything she wanted to, soon turned out to be utterly useless.
Prince Jitu had successfully proven himself as the most boring being in the savanna and it almost seemed like he wore his imaginary crown with utmost pride.
He didn't want Nala to show him around, he refused to play tag or anything else that could promise the slightest bit of fun, heck, he didn't even want to go to the waterhole for the whole of the day! But what was definitely was the worst: He didn't want to go explore.
What kind of cub is he?, Nala asked to herself, frustrated and incredulous.
Well, it was quite obvious that he was a handsome one with his medium-brown fur and the light golden tuft at the end of his tail that gave away the color of his future mane. Altogether, he would most certainly be a look-alike to his father, but with dark-brown eyes instead of deep-blue ones.
Now, that wasn't the right answer to her question, but on the other hand, how could she even know who Jitu was, if he didn't talk to her at all?
He just sat there where his father had left him, staring off into space for hours and giving the shortest answers to Nala's questions until Mufasa and Kimoni had finally finished their "important talk".
The tan-colored lioness thought that it made no sense why they would rather retreat into the last corner of the den to discuss their matters instead of just laying outside and enjoy the sun, but that was "adults-stuff" and she didn't care at all. The only thing that mattered was that it had ruined HER whole day.
As she trudged off Pride Rock to head for the waterhole, because thanks to the 'future king of boredom', she hadn't been able to get a drink for the whole day.
As she had to pass the little den of Sarafina and Simba, suddenly, an image of the golden cub pinned under paws and with a frustrated frown on his face, popped up in front of her inner eye.
Yes, it was mean to challenge him even though he didn't stand a chance, but It would probably lighten my mood a bit…
So it came that the young female stopped in front of the little cave, torn between what was right and what was fun, till suddenly a warm and fairly quiet voice behind her broke her stream of thoughts.
"Oh, hello Princess Nala, what a surprise to meet you here. I thought you were to hang around with the young prince from the Blessed Lands?"
She turned around and hastily answered, "Hello, Miss Sarafina. Uhh… the prince already left… luckily," somehow trying to sound as friendly as possible.
Beside her own mother, Sarafina was probably the loveliest lioness on earth, and because of that, she didn't want to use her as a valve for her anger. Her son … he was an extra story though.
"Doesn't sound like he was too much of a good company, was he?" Sarafina chuckled, and she lowered her head on eye-level with Nala, looking at her with kind blue eyes.
"His company was anything but a 'blessing', and spending time with him was as fun as a hunt during a thunderstorm in the rainy season." Answered Nala and her eyebrows curled once more as she thought about Prince Jitu in annoyance.
"My, my…" the adult lioness smiled and softly bumped Nala's flank with her snout, "look who's getting all poetic when she's grumpy."
Nala felt herself blushing as she grinned and whispered a quiet "thanks," clearly flattered by the small compliment.
Sarafina only winked at her before she slowly moved past her, silently ordering the cub to follow her as she headed towards the small den.
"I believe you're here to pick Simba up, aren't you?" The adult lioness with the bright coat asked, never losing her kind tone.
"Yes… that is… if you don't mind. What's he doing anyways? I hoped he would show up at Pride Rock sometime, but…" Nala trailed off, desperately trying not to think about her ruined day.
"Oh don't worry, honey. I don't mind at all. It won't harm him to get some fresh air in his lungs and some sun rays on his fur. And for what he's doing," she sighed lightly, "probably the same thing he did when I left five hours ago. Sleeping."
"You must be joking!" Nala exclaimed in disbelieve, whereas she blinked repeatedly to adjust her eyesight to the gloomy inside of the cave.
"I wish I was, but look at him yourself. He's fulfilling all the clichés about males already." Sarafina giggled as she pointed towards a small golden bundle in the center of the den.
"Is it even possible to sleep like that?!" Nala asked with wide eyes as she saw in what uncomfortable position her companion was sleeping. It was hard to describe, but he might have looked like a little duck diving for food in a pond with his hips up high and his chest close to the ground. The problem was though, that there was not water but thick, cold stone beneath him and that didn't made him look cute, but like someone had been too lazy to bury the terribly twisted cub after he threw it of a VERY high rock.
Nonetheless, there WAS light snoring audible indeed and that made both Nala and Sarafina raise an eyebrow in unison.
"I guess so…" Simba's mother stated dryly, shaking her head in disbelief before she walked up to her son and whispered into his ear: "Simba, sweetheart, wake up. You have a visitor."
After no response was given, the lioness started to lick his cheek, causing nothing but making him stir a little bit.
"Hey, come on now. It's not very kind to ignore the Princess of the Pridelands…" she flustered once more and finally, Simba gave her a quiet groan.
"Uhhhhh… what is it mom? I'm not hungry yet…" he mumbled without opening his eyes.
"Hungry?" Sarafina giggled, "My dear, you already had what felt like half a zebra for lunch. I don't think you'll get anything else today."
"What? Then why did you wake me?" The golden lion whined, desperately trying to avoid the wet licks of his mother with as little movement as possible.
"Because Nala is here for you and you're not making a good impression right now." Was what she stated, still grinning.
"Mhmmm… tell her, I said hi…" and with these words he turned his head away, making himself as comfortable as he possibly could in his awkward position.
Sarafina just rolled her eyes in annoyance and gave Nala a 'do-whatever-is-necessary' look before she turned away with another wink leaving the two cubs alone in the den.
An evil smirk crept onto the princess's face as she slowly snuck up to her friend and then nudged him hard enough with her snout to make sure he lost his balance and fell onto his side with a 'thud'.
"You can tell me yourself, you lazy bum!" she snarled at him with a smirk and was clearly satisfied as her action caused even more grumbling and mourning.
"Well, if that's not the lovely Princess Nala," he yawned in a tired tone and cracked one eye open, "to what do I owe the honor of your visit?"
Pah! That's so him! Not even properly awake and already thinking he has to play the joker! Nala thought, but she couldn't deny that somehow, she liked his attitude. As long as he didn't overstep his boundaries, she considered it better to get teased about her title than to be feared for it.
"I'm going to the waterhole and I guess it's safe to say that you would love to join me, you know with you being the 'well-behaved cub' you are!" she exclaimed with her head held high.
Simba sighed loudly and asked: "You're going to use that against me until the end of my days, right?"
"What can I say, you better think before you talk the next time." Was Nala's taunting answer and her friend sighed even louder than before.
"Alright, I'm coming. It's pointless to argue with you anyways." And with that, he rose to his feet, making it look like it was the toughest challenge he had faced today, which, it probably was.
"Exactly. But don't worry, I saw that you had a hard day and because I'm almost as 'well-behaved' as you are, I'm willing to go easy on you, my poor fellow." It was really astonishing how much sarcasm fitted into this short sentence.
"Whatever." Simba muttered, but at the outer corner of her eye, the Princess could clearly see how her friend miserably failed to suppress a small smile.
"You know Simba, we all know how much you love to spend time with me. Why are you even trying to cover it up?"
"You're right, Nala…" the young lion replied to her smug question through gritted teeth as they walked outside the cave "I'm so thrilled to spend my precious time with you."
"See? That's the right spirit!"
Finally outside, the two companions walked over to Sarafina who was lying just a short distance away on a sunny spot.
"Nala, I'm truly impressed," the lioness praised with a wide smile as she nuzzled her grumbling son, "You seem to be really talented in waking my little sleepy-head! I think it would be a good idea if you would come over and wake him every morning."
"Mom! You can't do that to me!" Simba tried his best to give her a sad-puppy look, but Sarafina only winked at him, telling him that he wasn't too successful with that.
"I think I'll consider it, sweetheart." She chuckled and nosed him away gently, "Now go and have some fun."
Simba maintained his look for a bit longer, but then lowered it as he sighed loudly in defeat.
"Aaalright… I'll try…" he nuzzled his mother good-bye and then walked back to Nala, who politely bid her farewell to the elder lioness, hinting a light bow.
"Brown-noser." He mumbled to her as they left and the Princess did nothing but bumped her hip hardy against his, making him stumble over his own feet and, to top it all, onto his tail which he was dragging along a little bit too close to the ground.
"AH! Good KINGS!" he yelped and Nala couldn't help but giggle.
"Aw, If only you were a tad heavier... you would've been able to claim yourself 'the first lion to ever rip his own tail off'."
"Ha-ha. Very funny. Watch out, I might laugh eventually." Simba replied sarcastically, what unwillingly gave him the opportunity to admire Nala's light-red tongue first-hand.
"So anyways, why did you take all the effort on you? Only to make me join you on your way to get something to drink?" The young lion asked after they finally descended Pride Rock.
"Ohoooo now look whose brain is starting to work! Yes Simba, what could be the reason, huh?" Nala smirked deviously and shot him a taunting glance.
"Hey! What do you mean with th-"
"NALA!" Both cubs froze instantly as they heard this all-too familiar voice booming a short distance behind them.
Nala was the first to turn around and quickly hobble back aside her companion, already smiling the loveliest smile she could actually muster.
"Uhhm… hey daddy!" She greeted cheerfully, trying to ignore the stern look of her father who was standing on a small ridge just beneath Pride Rock.
Simba now turned around as well, his ears flattened and he bowed down low, forcing himself to greet the king with a polite "Hello, your Majesty." To what said person only responded with a cold glare.
"Where are you two going?" He finally asked, sounding definitely not as civil as usual.
"O-only to the waterhole. I already told mom though." Nala replied, now sounding much more careful as at the beginning.
It seemed like the little request she had made a few hours ago had disagreed with him a little bit more than expected. Well, 'request' was maybe not the right way to put it. Shortly after King Kimoni and Jitu had left the den, Nala had literally clung onto her father's leg, begging him to not make her hang out with the Prince ever again.
As she thought about it now, she realized that the corners of Mufasa's mouth had dropped a bit further with every time she had called Jitu 'boring' during her long and detailed description of him, and it's certainly not necessary to tell that she had called him that LOADS of times.
He has to understand me though… I mean Jitu told his father that his day was 'as usual'! Kings, who's able to live a life like this when days like today are what you call 'usual'?! Nala defended her point of view mentally, as she waited for a response of her father.
"Alright," the King growled after some moments of deadly silence, "make sure you're home before the sun sets." And with these words, he turned around and headed up the same path to Pride Rock which Nala and Simba had recently used, whereas the cubs hesitantly resumed their journey to the waterhole without speaking a word at first.
"Your father hates me." Simba suddenly stated with a dry voice and a downcast glance.
"What makes you so sure about that? I think he just had a bad day."
"Are you kidding me? Did you even SEE the glances he shot at me?" Simba exclaimed and Nala looked at him wide eyed, "He was surely thinking about skinning me alive and using my coat as his bedside rug or something!" The Princess could see that her friend was dead-serious, but a smile crept onto her face nonetheless, as he hastily cleared his throat, trying to regain his composure before adding: "That did make me feel slightly uncomfortable though."
It didn't take long till another of her famous 'good ideas' popped up in Nala's head and she did a good job in quickly replacing her smile with a saddened expression, which she amplified even more by hanging her head.
"You know, you don't have to hang out with me if it bothers you so much…" she whispered in her best hurtful voice and she turned her head away, what made her miss Simba rolling his eyes.
"Now that's great! Yeah, don't be shy Nal, just go ahead and make my day even worse. Wonderful!" The young lion who seemed to be fully awake since his encounter with the King of the Pridelands tried to speed up in annoyance, but he didn't get far for that Nala had simply stopped and curled up into a ball, showing him nothing but her back.
"Come on…" Nala was already grinning again by that time. She knew that her plan worked perfectly, despite his poor attempts to stultify her statement with sarcasm. "That's ridiculous! You… gah!" He made a helpless move with his paw, before taking a deep breath and mumbling something like 'Ah, screw it'.
"Alright, you have an extremely scary father. So what? That won't make me end our friendship. There you go, that's what you wanted to hear, isn't it? Are you happy now? Can we go?"
Nala instantly jumped to her feet, nothing of her alleged sadness left as she shot him an innocent smile, this time fully aware of the rolling eyes she got as a response.
"Yepp!" The female cub only replied as she contently jogged up to him and together, they resumed their little trip, both secretly hoping that no more unintended delays were to appear.
"You're a mess." Simba chuckled after a short time, getting him a good glimpse of Nala's tongue once again.
"And what would you call yourself? My better half?" She hissed
"Whatever. You were wrong about my father, by the way."
"Say what?" She could tell that he was a bit puzzled by her sudden change of topic.
"He wouldn't make you his bedside rug, he would make you my bedside rug!"
"How reassuring!" Simba spoke ironically, "Everything for daddy's little girl, huh?"
"Exactly!" They shared a little laugh, enjoying the tease how only really good friends could do.
"So, did I miss anything while wasting my time with the precious Prince of the Blessed Lands?" The tan-colored Princess asked, not really expecting all too much. Simba had been sleeping for almost the whole day after all.
"Was it really that bad?" He had raised an eyebrow as if saying 'do you really want me to believe that?'
"Honestly, Simba…" Nala stopped and put a paw on the males shoulder "It's more fun to watch you sleeping." She didn't lie at all, because if Simba always slept the way he did as she woke him up today, it was simply HILARIOUS to watch him, but that he did not had to know.
"That's quite impressive." He chuckled, but his smile faded and he seemed to get a little nervous as the Princess didn't let go of his shoulder and kept her glare up, "What?"
"You haven't answered my question, silly!"
"Oh… uhh…" his expression changed from worried to thoughtful for a second, then his eyes suddenly widened and he seemed to get quite excited.
"It actually has! Look what my mom found this morning!" Simba hastily lowered his head, showing his brow to a bewildered Nala.
"Where are you going with this?" She demanded skeptically, squeezing her eyes together in concentration. "Wait…" She trailed off as she came across a barely visible variance in the golden fur in front of her "You… mean these two stupid little red hairs, don't you?"
"These aren't just two stupid red hairs!" Simba huffed and pulled away, somehow offended, "These are the three first hairs of my mane! Besides, my mom told me they're scarlet!"
"Mane?" Nala spluttered, "That's not even a tuft and you're already talking about a mane? It'll take you more than a year to grow something that you could actually compare to that!"
She still fought against the giggles, but they came nonetheless.
"Funny." The mocked lion spat out sarcastically, "At least I have something to look forward to!"
After Nala had calmed back down, she rounded her pouting companion to look him in his eyes once more "Kings, Simba! I'm sorry, alright? I was just kidding. You'll sure have a nice mane. No need to get sulky!"
Despite her honey-sweet excuse, Simba still looked grumpy, or at least doubtful, so the Princess decided to distract his thoughts a little to regain his trust, or at least that was what she pretended.
"I'm still not sure about the color though, care to show me again?" Nala asked kindly, supposedly interested in his new features and he whipped around to her with a giant grin.
"I tell you they're scarlet! Just like the tuft on my tail!" As the young lioness had suspected, her male companion was way too excited to deny her offer, and she literally grabbed the opportunity and tugged out one of the hairs as he lowered his head once again.
"Ouch!" Simba yelped in shock and as he looked at his friend, he saw her holding a single hair into the sunlight.
"I guess you were right. It's scarlet." She stated with a devilish grin, making the golden cub almost boil with anger.
"You… evil witch! YOU TRICKED ME!" He was absolutely enraged and wasted no second to leap at her.
Nala was already one step ahead though, and that is how it came that another 'race for life and death' emerged, this time with Simba in the role of the hunter.
"Don't you ever dare to touch my mane when it's grown!" He yelled, but boy, he had no clue how hard that would be for Nala if the time was up…
That's all you get for today! I dearly hope you liked it and I'm impatiently waiting for your feedback! ;)
The next chapter COULD take a tad longer, but I think it's going to be a little more extensive than all the ones before!
Random fact of the day: Polar bears are left-handed.