Author's Note: Hello my dearest friends. I know that you are all probably anxious to get an update for Book Two of the Heart of a Lioness series, believe me, I'm ready to further the story as well. However, I just had the most awful day trying to catch up on some work that I had fallen behind on while my family was gone to Asheville,NC for a few days. Speaking of which, it was so lovely to see the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina and to see the Biltmore House in all its grandeur. On the three hour ride to and fro, of course I was developing ideas for Uru, but this little idea came to mind as the song came up on my ipod. I do hope that you enjoy this little one-shot, yet another edition to my seemingly expanding Tribute to Simba collection. This was a little relax writing for my personal health if you will. But enough of my incessant babbling...Enjoy :)

(I don't own the Lion King nor this beautiful song, though I suggest that you listen to the Lebo M. Rhythm of the Pridelands version. Lyrics are in bold.)


In the jungle, the mighty jungle

The lion sleeps tonight.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle

The lion sleeps tonight.

"Well, I don't know about you two, but I'm thinking it's time to hit the hay." Timon said with a yawn.

"Yeah, me too." Pumbaa agreed.

"Who knew Hakuna Mata could be so exhausting?" the young male said with a sigh.

The three pals landed in a heap and after a bit of scuffling as they settled themselves in, drifted peacefully to sleep under the thick canopy the green jungle provided.

Simba listened to the peaceful snoring of his pals. He carefully shifted himself so that neither the warthog nor meerkcat would tumble off him. Simba sighed as he let his exhaustion begin to carry him off to sleep.

Today had been a good day, no worries, no cares, and most of all, no guilt.

For the first time in a long time, Simba had had a moment of peace from the dark shadow of his past that he always felt haunting him. Today he had goofed off with his pals and let the simple joys of the jungle carry him away from his darker thoughts. Perhaps this was a milestone for him.

Timon was right, there wasn't a thing he could do about the past, so why worry about it? It was better to leave the past where it belonged- behind him.

Yep. Tomorrow was going to be a new start for him, tomorrow he would let go of his guilt from his previous life. No more nightmares about his father's death, no more constant worrying about his mother or the friend and pride he'd left behind.

Tomorrow, he was no longer going to be, even to his own mind, Prince Simba of the Pride Lands, tomorrow, he would just be Simba.

oOo

Hush my darling

Don't cry my darling

The lion sleeps tonight.

Hush my darling

Don't fear my darling

The lion sleeps tonight.

Simba gave a sigh as he looked over his kingdom. He could see the faintest hint of vegetation just beginning to overtake the wicked dust that had plagued the land for so many years.

Even if it had been the hardest thing he'd ever had to do, taking his place as king felt...good.

Today hadn't been as bad as ones before it. One might even say it had been good. The lionesses had been catching decent amounts of food and Simba was pleased to see their once thin bodies retaining their feminine roundness and healthy glow that had once been characteristic of the lionesses in the Pride Lands.

He was restoring his father's kingdom and that pleased Simba. Maybe, he wouldn't be such a bad king after all.

The sun was setting and so, giving one look over his kingdom once more, the king headed into the den. Most of the lionesses were settling in, some were telling their young ones a story before tucking them in.

As he walked quietly over to his own sleeping area, the words of one lioness caught his attention.

"What is wrong Pipani, my little one?" a mother asked.

"I'm scared mama. What if the hyenas come back?" the little cub asked.

The mother only gave a soft chuckle,

"Oh my little one, there is no need to fear. We have a wise, kind, and strong king now. He will not let any hyena near us. He is a good king, you can sleep in peace, for he is always watching over us."

oOo

Near the village

The peaceful village

The lion sleeps tonight.

Near the village

The quiet village

The lion sleeps tonight.

"Oh Simba. I can't believe it's tomorrow." Nala said nuzzling her mate as they lay side by side in the den.

"Uggh, Nala, don't remind me." Simba said with a groan.

Nala ignored her grumbling mate as she continued to reminisce.

"Oh, it seems like only yesterday that she was just a tiny newborn snuggling in my paws."

Simba too, couldn't believe how time had flown. The events that had transpired over the past few months were quite mind blowing. Kiara had fallen for the son of his sworn enemy, yet in her compassion, a wound that had torn the Pride Lands apart since his return to defeat Scar, had been healed. Simba was pleased that the former Out Lands lionesses had seemed to settle in nicely.

And tomorrow, tomorrow was the day he had dreaded since his sweet little daughter had been born. Tommorow, Kiara was...getting married.

(Flashback)

The young king cautiously entered the den. The screams of his mate in labor had been enough to freeze the blood in his veins. But the moment he beheld the beaming face of Nala holding their child, all hesitation had melted.

Simba gave Nala a nuzzle as he gently lay his own body next to her. Peering down at the small ball curled in her paws, he smiled as he saw the little cub beginning to stir. Slowly, the newborn began to open her eyes, and with a little sneeze, two amber orbs were looking curiously up at her parents.

"Oh Simba. She looks just like you." Nala said with a smile.

"Can I hold her?" Simba asked after a moment.

"Of course."

Nala carefully shifted so that the precious bundle in her paws was gently placed into the paws of the happy father.

Watching his daughter stare up at him, giving a small little mew, Simba felt his heart melt. Never before had he felt such a strong love for any other creature. He knew then that he would do everything to make sure she was safe and happy. She was his little girl, forever and always.

oOo

Near the village the peaceful village

The lion sleeps tonight.

Near the village the quiet village

The lion sleeps tonight.

"C'mon Grandpa Simba, you promised to tell us a story!" a little cub begged tugging at the ear of his snoozing grandfather.

"Uh, what, oh right." Simba said with a yawn.

"Now, where was I, oh yes, once there was a Lion King, a king so powerful, so majestic, so wise, and so handsome-"

"I do hope that you're not referring to who I think you're referring to." Nala interjected.

"C'mon Grandpa Simba, tell us, tell us!" The two cubs chanted.

"Well, his name was...Simba!"

"GRANDPA!"

The little cubs giggled and then pounced on the older lion as their grandmother looked on, a wide grin on her face.

"He hasn't changed a bit since he was their age." she thought to herself.

oOo

In the jungle

The mighty jungle

The lion sleeps tonight.

In the jungle

The peaceful jungle

The lion sleeps tonight.

oOo

The old lion sighed as he saw the jungle oasis in the near distance. He wasn't sure how he had made it through the merciless desert, to be honest, he wasn't really sure what had possessed him to even attempt such a journey, but never the less, the lion had felt some inner instinct deep within himself push him through.

He had parted with his daughter, now a strong Queen in her prime, along with her King and cubs. He hadn't told them anything beyond saying goodbye to them all and that they had better be good.

He was the last of the lions to remember the reign of Scar. All of the lionesses around his age had passed years ago, even his dear sweet Nala had gone to the heavens peacefully in her sleep many moons ago. Now, the kingdom was in the paws of the next generation, and Simba had no doubt that his daughter and her children would carry on the Circle of Life the way he had taught them; the way his own father had taught him.

Giving a sigh, the old lion entered the jungle for the first time in a lifetime. The last time he had been here, he was a young Prince, lost and alone, unsure of his place in the Circle of Life. Now, he was an old King, looking back on the moments that had made him who he was. Simba had made his mistakes, but he was at peace with his life.

He wondered what it might have been like if Nala hadn't shown up in the jungle that fateful day or if his father hadn't appeared to him in the clouds. Simba was glad that he would never know that life, that he would never again know that loneliness.

Gently laying himself down on the soft undergrowth, he lay his great head upon the ground listening to the peaceful hum of the jungle around him.

Yesterday, he had been King Simba of the Pride Lands, but now, now, as he closed his eyes, taking a last deep breath... he was just Simba.

In the jungle

The peaceful jungle

The lion sleeps tonight...


A/N: Thanks you all so much for reading. Simba really is my favorite character and I did my best to create almost a written collage if you will on the different times in his life. I actually quite like this, but please let me know what you thought in a review. I know they seem kinda abstract and perhaps meaningless, but these little tributes hold a great deal of meaning to me, as they are ways I can express myself in a style of writing that I can't always use in my larger stories.

If you liked this and are interested in my work, swing by my profile and check out one that suits your fancy.

Till next time dearest readers, all my love to you!

*Nantsingonyama*