Imagine this. What if the characters from the Lion King II: Simba's Pride had to live through events similar to that of the first Lion King? Imagine, if Simba and Nala were the ones to build up the motto of 'We Are One' among the Pridelanders by uniting two prides together. Imagine, if Kiara was the one who got to experience the motto of 'Hakuna Matata' in the lush African jungles instead. Different set of characters in the plot will affect the events, especially when the cast of characters experience events different from their own movies. How different would the story be?
A/N: Naaaants Ingonyama!
Welcome to my first fanfic of The Lion King! Thank you for stopping by. It's an idea that I've had for awhile and felt like composing, and it's my first fanfiction that I have actually decided to put up. Now that my laptop's here I can finally start on it. This idea is not a repeat of canon-well, not exactly though. You'll know what I mean soon if you read on. Do have a listen to 'The Circle of Life" from the Lion King to the first segment if you can, it improves the reading experience.
The Lion King and the cast of characters belong to the wonderful people at Disney.
A loud cry echoes across the great expanse of the African Serengeti, calling out to all the animals as the sun slowing blazes its way up into the sky, lighting it up in a stunning sunrise. From far and wide, all the way from the base of Mount Kilimanjaro to the banks of the rivers that flowed through the heart of the Pridelands, creatures big and small flew, crawled, leaped and trotted through the morning mist that enveloped the lush, endless fields of grass.
The great Circle of Life, the motto of the Pridelanders. Just like the motion of the sun in the sky, every being would rise and fall. And on a new dawn, just like the sun, the descendants of these beings will rise for a new dawn, to their own legacy. This morning was a new beginning for a new spark of life. It was the birth of Princess Kiara, the daughter of King Simba and Queen Nala. Their prides, once feuding, had come together as one.
"We are One," Simba caressed Nala's cheek with his own. A pride of great lions, united as one.
"One family under the sun," Nala replied, quoting the familiar phrases of song and smiling widely. This was one of the greatest days in both of their lives. A princess born to both of the lovers. Not just a princess to their eyes, but to the whole of the Pridelands as well. The couple sat in the den, a sheltered place on Pride Rock. The cub was held in Nala's front paws, snuggled tightly and sleeping. An old mandrill came hobbling up to them, holding on to a staff for support. Said staff was actually a branch fashioned out from one of the branches from the ancient tree that he called home, and from the end hung two sweet smelling fruit. The mandrill was old, his face weathered from many decades of joy and sorrow. He lit up when he saw the family.
"Rafiki," the couple acknowledged, and the old mandrill smiled warmly. "Ah, de new Princess," he chuckled, plucking one of the fruits off his staff and cracking it open. Inside the fruit held a sticky red juice, and Rafiki dipped his finger into it. "Rise and shine, Princess Kiara," he cooed gently in his strange accent, standing over the princess and her mother. With a gentle lick on her head from her mother, Kiara opened her sleepy eyes, turning towards Rafiki.
Rafiki brought down his finger to her forehead, streaking it with red. The blood of royalty. He then picked up a small handful of dirt from the cave floor, sprinkling it over Kiara. Born of the Earth, the dust from her ancestors. She sneezed, and both her parents laughed with joy. Bending down, Rafiki took the cub into his arms gently, and started making his way upwards to the promontory. The birds who were flying overhead started catching glimpses of the new Princess, and their songs of excitement started to rise in volume. The animals gathered before Pride Rock could hear the commotion up in the air, and they lifted their heads towards the promontory's peak in anticipation.
There, Rafiki appeared, holding Kiara in his arms. Without hesitation, he thrust Kiara up into the air, holding her high for all the animals to see. At this, the crowd erupted into cheers. All of them, even the huge and majestic African elephants, fell to their knees in respect. Simba and Nala appeared behind Rafiki, gaining cheers as loud as the one for their Princess. The air was alive with celebration and well wishes for the new member of the royal family.
The annual season of rain came like it always would, flooding the great plains and bringing a fresh breath of life into the Pridelands. The rivers swelled and new, young grass grew in abundance.
Rafiki, the old mandrill, bounded about in his tree, safe from the storms. His tree, a baobab tree which looked as old as the shaman of the Pridelands himself, and a place in which he made his home, was located on the outskirts of the Pridelands. In his excitement, he had nearly forgot that he made use of the staff as a walking aid, instead holding it up and chuckling to himself as he made a drawing on the wall with his fingers. After a few moments of concentration in his craft, the mandrill stepped back to admire his work. It was Kiara herself, drawn in the symbol of a lioness cub onto the inner bark of the giant tree.
"Kee-A-Raa," he rolls the Princess' name off his tongue, tinged with his accent. Dipping his finger into a halved fruit and smearing a streak of red juice onto the symbol's forehead, he smiles even wider. "Princess Kiara," he says with a flourish. As the shamans before him had recorded the ancestors of the royal family, Rafiki would follow in their footsteps-or handiworks-to ensure that the records continued. Above Kiara's symbol were the symbols of many other lions before her time, painted over many years. And each one of their symbols interacted in one way or another with other symbols, not necessarily only of lions but of places and other animals as well. Each symbol held stories of their own, of the best and for some, the worst things that they had done in life. Their legacies that would live on in the form of paintings on the inner walls of the ancient baobab tree. Kiara's painting was small compared to the other symbols above hers, representing a new spark of life starting in the Pridelands. One day, she will leave her own legacy as well, Rafiki thought proudly.
A few months later, a streak of golden sunlight filtered through the den at Pride Rock, illuminating the mouth of the cave. Inside, a pride of lions lay, sleeping contentedly past the sunrise. On a peaceful morning like this, no one felt the need to get up early. Except for one little cub. The cub slowly crept away from the sleeping forms of her own parents. It's easier now, she thought. She had requested to not sleep between her mother's arms now that she was a big cub. It had felt significantly colder last night, but that was just part of her plan and she had to stick to it. She stalked through the cave, imitating the hunting prowls of the older lionesses. She couldn't wake anyone up. Except for another little cub, who was sleeping next to his mother. She tugged on his ear with her teeth.
"Kovu," she whispered, "Kovu!"
"Huh?" The little brown coloured cub blinked his eyes open, looking into the eyes of the golden cub.
"Oh. Princess," he grinned.
"It's not 'Princess', it's just Kiara," she protested, gaining her a playful smack from the brown cub.
"Shh!" he hissed, "the others will hear us."
"Oh, right." Kiara lowered her voice down to a whisper again, smiling sheepishly.
"What're you waiting for? Let's go!" he whispered, tiptoeing out of the cave. Just then, his mother inhaled loudly, making both of the cubs tense up. But then she quickly fell back into the rhythmic breaths of sleep. Kiara and Kovu quickly escaped the den.
"Whew! That was close!" Kiara exclaimed as they started making their way down the rocky steps of Pride Rock. The rising sun reflected off everything in the land, giving it a beautiful orange-gold glow. Even the cubs' fur was glowing under the bright morning sun.
"You nearly screwed it up," Kovu replied, and both of the cubs laughed.
"You're kinda dumb for a princess," Kovu said with a smirk.
"What?! I am not!" she protested.
"Am too." Kovu smiled, enjoying his tease.
"Don't call me Princess!" Kiara pouted. She continued walking, but her inattentiveness caused her to trip and fall over the edge of a rock onto the ground, sending up a cloud of glowing sun-lit dust. "Oof!"
Kovu laughed loudly, lifting his head high up into the air. "Maybe you should have been called Princess Clumsy!" He stuck out his tongue, blowing a raspberry, and ran ahead, scampering up a huge boulder. "Hey, there it is," he stood at attention, looking out into the distance. Kiara quickly brushed the dust off herself, joining Kovu on the peak of the boulder.
"So that's what you wanted to show me?" she asked, looking in the same direction as him.
"Yep," Kovu answered, "isn't it exciting?"
"Umm..." Kiara hesitated, "I don't know." The cubs stood, looking out into the distance at the a dark patch in the golden expanse of grass. The Outlands. Not very long ago, a third of the current lions in the Pridelands lived there before Simba and Nala brought the pride together as one. Nala, the mother of Kiara herself, was from the Outlands. Both her and Simba had told Kiara snippets of the story, of course leaving out the parts where the lions had tried to kill each other. A war fought over the rightful ownership of the Pridelands, and in the end managing to unite both the Prides. That was where the lion's motto comes in. We are One. Regardless of colour, size or even the distinct shapes of their noses which defined each lion as a Pridelander or an Outlander, the lions bled the same colour in battle. United by blood.
This was all, however, a lot for a child to take in, and they have not understood the meaning of the phrase yet. So instead, Kovu, Kiara, and the other lion cubs in the pride lived happily, having little to no knowledge of the war just before their time. To both Kovu, the Outlands now was a place of adventure due to it's previous inhabitants moving into the Pridelands and leaving it empty. To Kiara, it was just another place that her parents had not told her about.
"Are you scared?" Kovu taunted her.
"No!" Kiara proudly puffed out her chest, "let's go!"
"And where do you children think you're going?" An amused voice spoke from behind them. The cubs jumped and turned around to face a huge lion. He looked very alike to Kiara, even in colouration and down to the way he smiled. The similarities ended there-the lion had a huge auburn mane and was very well built. However, it wasn't hard to put two and two together. This lion was Simba, Kiara's father. The King of the Pridelands.
"S-sir!" Kovu exclaimed, "uh, we were-"
"We were going to the waterhole, Daddy." Kiara quickly cut in. Simba lifted an eyebrow. "We were thirsty," she added.
"You could have called me or your mother awake," Simba said, "Kiara, how many times have I told you-"
"It's not safe," Kiara finished with a sigh. "Precisely," Simba said, licking the top of her head affectionately.
"Daddy," Kiara rolled her eyes, "I'm a big cub already."
Simba laughed. "For me, you'll always be my little Kiara." At this, Kovu had to stifle a giggle. Simba turned to Kovu. "And I don't think you guys were thirsty," he said with a wink. Kovu gulped.
"Go back to your mother, Kovu," Simba smiled, nudging him towards Pride Rock. "As for you," he turned towards Kiara, "you're coming with me." He started up Pride Rock after Kovu.
"Aww," Kiara grumbled, and climbed after her father.
Father and daughter sat on the summit of Pride Rock. Kiara swept her gaze all around. The Pridelands was awash in the beautiful sunlight. In the distance was Mount Kilimanjaro, and she could see the sparkling rivers that meandered and coursed through the Pridelands. She could see miles and miles of greenery sparkling in the morning sun. They were as high as the birds that circled high above the Pridelands. Kiara took a deep breath and smiled at the fresh air that entered her lungs.
"Look around, Kiara. What do you see?" Simba asked.
"Umm...the lands that I'll rule over one day?" she said. Her parents had emphasised, quite proudly, on the fact that she would one day be Queen. She did not say in in an arrogant manner, but rather with the innocence of a child.
"Yes, one day you will rule it all," he smiled proudly, "let me tell you what your grandfather once told me. Do you see the rising sun, Kiara?" She nodded, and he continued. "A ruler's time rises and falls like the sun. One day, the sun will set on my time, and rise with you as the new Queen of these lands, and you will take your place in the great Circle of Life. Do you understand?"
Kiara nodded blankly, then turned to her father. "But Daddy, who would be the King then?" Simba grinned. He could see how close his own daughter was with Kovu. He leaned down, and whispered into her ear even though no other creatures were anywhere nearby.
"Kovu," he said cheekily. Kiara gasped.
"But Daddy! I can't marry him-he's my friend!"
Simba laughed heartily. "That's what I thought about your mother many years ago too."
"Eww! Friends don't marry each other!" Kiara protested. She started thinking of her and Kovu together as King and Queen. No wait, maybe Kovu himself could be King, so he could marry another lioness so that she wouldn't be Queen. It would work out perfectly-they could still be best of friends and she needn't be Queen. However, when Kiara started thinking of who was going to marry Kovu and be Queen in her place, she couldn't help but feel a twinge of jealousy. Jealous not of the mystery lioness' rank, but of her place next to Kovu for some reason, and she couldn't quite figure out why.
"-are you listening, Kiara?"
Kiara looked up to her father. "Daddy, what if I don't want to be Queen?"
Simba's eyebrows shot up. When he was young, he just couldn't WAIT to be king. "Why not?"
"Being a Queen is no fun. I don't get to go anywhere," Kiara sulked.
"Well, you're not free to do it all your way..." said Simba. "But you do get your privileges if you're Queen."
Simba thought to himself. He hadn't assumed the throne for a long time, and had only been King for awhile. "You have lots of animals that look up to you and love you."
"But I don't want them to love me as Queen-I want to be normal best friends with them!"
"Is there a difference?"
"Yes there is."
"Who said a Queen couldn't be friends with her subjects?"
Kiara paused, "I-I said so!"
Simba laughed again. "We shall see, my little Kiara."
"I'm not little!" She protested, only to have Simba nuzzle her lovingly.
A clear, cloudless sunrise in the Pridelands meant a hot day for all its inhabitants. Half of the lionesses basked in the shade of acacia trees just a stone's throw away from Pride Rock, yawning lazily. They had no desire to move around much in the harsh late morning sun. In the distance, wildebeest and antelope moved slowly across the sizzling heat of the savannah. A few insects buzzed around the lionesses and the only response from them were lazy flicks of their tails to keep off the persistent creatures. The other half were out and about in the Pridelands, patrolling the huge territory.
Kiara came down from Pride Rock and caught sight of her best friend-none other than Kovu, of course-lazing under the shades of the trees. A smile lit up her face and she bounded along the pathway to him.
Kovu was lying down next to his mother, and when he saw her, his face lit up too. "Hey Kiara."
"Hi Kovu. Hello Auntie Zira." She smiled widely.
"Why hello, Princess." Kovu's mother said, grating out on the word as if it was an insult. She wasn't an unpleasant lioness though, thought Kiara. Zira was one of the Outlanders that had came over to the Pridelands when both prides joined as one. She had all the features that defined her as an ex-Outlander-darker fur, an anchor shaped nose, a more angular facial structure-but what really defined her was a stripe that ran from her forehead down to her shoulders. Her ear was also marked with a part that was torn off, probably during a fight.
Kovu jumped off the rock that he was sitting on. "Can I go play with Kiara, mother?"
Suddenly, Kiara was whisked up behind by her own mother, Nala. "Waa-hey! MOM!" Kiara cried.
"It's time for your bath," Nala laughed, "now be a good girl and sit still." At first glance, it was hard to see how Kiara was related to Nala because both had different colourations. Queen Nala had a regal way of walking, a beautiful light cream coat, and teal eyes, while Kiara mirrored her father by having a light golden coat and dark red eyes. However, looking closer, one could see that Kiara inherited much of her mother's facial features, especially her nose and mouth.
Kiara sighed and allowed herself to be licked clean by her mother. Zira glanced up at the both of them. "Do give Kovu a clean too. The boy is always filthy," she grumbled, causing Nala to smile at her old friend. Nala herself was from the Outlands as well, and was one of few lionesses to have mixed blood in her. Her mother came from the Pridelands, while her father was from the Outlands. She inherited much of her features from her own father, but enough from her mother to make her a very attractive lioness in both prides. She gave Kiara one final big lick, and pulled Kovu over with her paw. "Your turn, young man."
Kovu was, surprisingly, more patient and well behaved than the Princess, and he sat nicely while he was cleaned. "There you go," Nala said, "a clean, handsome young lion!"
"Thank you Madam," Kovu said politely. Nala shook her head. "Oh dear," she smiled, "it's just Nala, not Madam."
"Alright Ma-Nala." It felt strange for Kovu to address Nala with her name for the first time, especially with her now being the Queen. "That's better," Nala approved, "now you two lovebirds run along. And be back before sunset!" She shouted as the two cubs started bounding away. Nala smiled to herself. Those two would make a great pair one day.
Kiara was thinking of what both her parents said as she ran along the path with Kovu. What was that her father said about marrying him again? And did she hear wrongly, or was her mother calling them lovebirds? Maybe she was really going to marry Kovu after all. The thought made her blush. One day, IF they really did marry after all and Kiara had to become Queen, there would be little cubs bouncing about around Pride Rock. Oh, Kiara thought, that would be so lovely. If the cub was a girl, her name would be-
"Kiara!" Kovu cut into her thoughts. "Your Highness is daydreaming, huh?"
Kiara blushed deeper immediately. "Oh, umm, what?" She snapped out of her fantasies of her and Kovu being rulers together, and even having-she cringed a little at the thought-CUBS. Kovu hadn't seen what she was thinking of though, and he laughed.
"Hey Kiara, remember the place I showed you this morning?"
"You mean the shadowy place where the sun meets the land?" Horizon was not a word in Kiara's vocabulary yet.
"Yeah. I hope you haven't become a scaredy-cat and changed your mind!"
Kiara rolled her eyes. "You're just saying that because you're more scared of the place than I am!"
"Oh yeah?" Kovu challenged. "I bet you're even more scared!"
"Bet you are! Bet the little princess is very SCARED!" Kovu smirked.
Kiara pouted. "I'm not scared." Seeing that his best friend was a little upset, Kovu smacked her on the shoulder gently. "Come on!" he said cheerily, hoping that his own cheerfulness would spread to her. "Race you to the shadowy place!" he cried. On the count of-"
Kiara suddenly took off running and laughing loudly, turning her head to blow a playful raspberry at her friend. "Catch me if you can!"
"Hey!" Kovu exclaimed as he chased her. "No fair!"
Both cubs ran into the distance, laughing loudly and teasing each other without a care in the world.
AND enter epic Lion King title sequence!
Kiara won't have exactly the same experiences, because even though I am attempting to mirror the story of the first Lion King, there are many different characters on set, and that means even the little things that they say or do can affect the story. In this story, I hope I can keep the characters intact and in-character. I respect canon and the personalities given to each and every colourful character that Disney has brought to life. Thank you so much for reading this, dear reader. Please do review if you can, I'll love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to ask me questions as well (although I won't give away plot points directly). Cheers!