Chapter 1: Prologue
Kala rolled her eyes as she trudged through the jungle, a fond smile on her face as her son swung over her head, crying out and sending birds scattering from the trees.
“Tarzan!” she called out to him, “Don’t go too far ahead!”
He wasn’t going to listen, but as everything was relatively calm in this area of the jungle, so she tried to relax a little bit… or at least, that was her plan until her foot nudged until something.
Something that whined slightly.
Glancing down, she herself yelped in shock and took several steps back.
A lion cub.
Lions didn’t venture this far into the jungle, it was unheard of!
“Mama! Mama!” Tarzan came rushing past, having clearly heard her yelp, “What is it? What is it?”
His own gaze darting to what she was staring at, he immediately went on the defensive. “Is it a leopard?” he asked, stepping slightly in front of Kala, like he could protect her.
“No… it’s a lion.”
“A… lion?” Tarzan tilted his head to the side in confusion, “Is it dangerous?”
“When big, yes…” Kala slowly moved over and lifted the tiny cub into her arms, her heart aching as the cub snuggled closer to her warmth, “… not so much at this size though.” Feeling the poor thing’s rib through it’s dirty fur, she came to a decision in her mind, “Come. We need to get him to some water.”
Gently pouring water over the lion cubs face, both cooling him down and encouraging him to drink, Kala sighed in relief when the cub slowly started to wake up.
“Thank goodness…” she whispered, placing one hand over her heart, “… sweetie, are you alright?”
The lion cub looked very confused to see her, a sadness in his eyes that should not have been on a child so young. However, before he could say anything, Tarzan suddenly dropped down in front of him, a beaming grin on his face.
“You almost died!”
The lion cub didn’t seem shocked by the news, slowly pushing himself to his feet and walking away. “Thanks for your help.”
Tarzan frowned in confusion, but Kala felt like her heart was going to break.
No child should act like that…. No child should be that sad.
“Mama…” Tarzan whispered, “… why’s he leaving?”
Kala didn’t answer, instead moving to follow the poor boy. “What’s wrong honey…” she asked him, keeping her voice low and soothing, “… where did you come from? I think you’re a little far away from home right now.”
“Who cares?” The cub whispered, “I can’t go back.”
Banished then? From his family?
Kala knew what she was going to do…. And never mind what Kerchak thought.
Kerchak wasn’t happy, but once he was reminded how much bigger he was than the cub, he once again, surrendered to his mates’ desire to have another child, with the understanding that Simba (as the cub had finally introduced himself as) would never be considered a son of his.
He wasn’t the only one who was unsure about the new change.
It was clear that Simba wasn’t interested in calling her Mum, like Tarzan did, and often referred to her as Aunt Kala. To Kala, this only reaffirmed the opinion that he still had a family somewhere, a mother who should be loving him right now.
Whilst it was tense as first, with many of her fellow gorillas avoiding Simba purely because of the lion’s reputation as a fierce hunter, Tarzan, Terk and Simba bonded fairly quickly.
They would sneak up on each other and try and scare each other (Simba usually ended up scaring several others as well).
They groomed one another, play-fought… acted like any other brothers and sisters would do.
It was one of the sore points between her and Kerchak. He wanted to produce an actual heir, but she was too consumed with looking after Tarzan and now Simba. She pointed out that he could just make Tarzan his heir, and then he’d go off in a sulk.
It was a vicious circle.
So, despite her mate’s protests, Kala took on the role of being someone else’s mother figure.
It was… rough at the beginning.
“Aunt Kala… Aunt Kala? Aunt Kala!”
The small voice finally broke through, and Kala blearily opened her eyes to see Simba awake and staring at her.
“I gotta go!” the lion cub hissed.
“Go… go where sweetie?”
“You know… go! Bad!”
Instantly Kala was awake, “Oh go! Alright, let’s go.” Gently making sure Tarzan was still asleep, Kala cautiously made her way out of the nest and led Simba over to an area where he could do his business, before going back to bed.
She worried herself sick when Tarzan and Simba decided to climb the highest tree they could find, leaping from branch to branch with no cares in the world, whooping in glee.
“You all look like ants!” Simba yelled down to Kala, who shook her head in exasperation.
“Young man… I am counting to three!”
Of course, it was inevitable that when the pair jumped to the next branch in unison, the branch broke and they came tumbling to the ground, forcing Kala to leap and catch them, almost taking out several other gorillas as she went.
Night times were…. Difficult.
Kala was awake instantly, one eyebrow raised when she spotted Simba. “Do you need to go… again?”
“No. I’m thirsty.”
So, dutifully, she walked him to the closest watering hole.
“You do know this means you’ll be up in about two hours from now?”
And he did.
Kala thought Kerchak was going to have a heart attack as he watched the babies climb all over the lion cub, with Simba growling playfully as he pretended to pounce on them.
The cub had moved onto eating bugs fairly easily, but there was always that concern… that concern that he would want to hunt as he got older.
Kala startled awake, groaning under her breath as she turned to the cub, “Simba, please…. I need sleep.”
“I-I… I had a bad dream.”
Instantly, Kala felt her maternal instincts creep in as she held up one arm for Simba to snuggle up to. “Alright sweetie…” she whispered, “… do you want to talk about it?”
He shook his head, burying his face into her soft fur.
She didn’t know what had happened to Simba before she found him in the jungle, but she could tell that it was causing him nightmares. With a deep sigh, she knew that she’d made the right decision taking him in.
No matter what happened in the future.
Chapter 2: Elephant Stampede
“We don’t really have to play with Terk.” Simba complained, as they raced after the female gorilla, “Tarzan, we don’t- “
“- We do if we want to fit it!” Tarzan didn’t even glance behind him, “Terk said that if we could keep up, we could all hang out!”
“- Come on!”
They raced through the jungle, only for Tarzan to suddenly stumble and fly forwards, barrelling through the leaves and knocking Terk to the ground.
“Ummm… hi guys.” Simba nervously greeted, as Tarzan started pulling leaves and twigs out of his hair.
Terk’s friends ignored him, turning to Terk in disgust. “Terk! What is this?!”
“Tell me I’m not looking at the hairless wonder and his pet predator!”
Simba growled a warning at the boys, as Tarzan glanced away with a hurt look. “Well…” the boy muttered, “… Terk said I could come if we could keep up!”
Immediately, the boy gorillas started to protest, until Terk muttered something to them and turned to Tarzan and Simba, “Guys, buddies, listen! We have an isty bisty little problem here. Now personally, you know I’d love to hang out with you guys, I really would, you know that! But the guys, they need a little convincing, you know?”
“If they have a problem then- “
“- okay!” Tarzan quickly interrupted, “What do we need to do?”
“Do?” Terk laughed , looking everywhere but at Tarzan and Simba as she ummed and aahed, running her fingers through her fur, “Oh, it’s so stupid!”
“What! What is it!” Tarzan leaned forwards.
“You… gotta go get a hair.”
“Yeah, yeah, a hair!” Terk paused as an elephant trumpeted down below, a smile appearing on her face, ”An elephant hair.”
Down below, Simba could see the large creatures fighting in the waters down below… you never went up against an elephant alone. It was one of the main rules of hunting, his Dad- Simba stopped, refusing to think about that as he turned his attention back to Tarzan and Terk.
“An elephant hair?” Tarzan sounded terrified.
Terk however, had a big grin on her face. “Yeah, I know, like I said it’s really stupid… so listen to me. Go home, both of you, who really needs all this aggravation anyway, you know I’m probably going to leave soon anyway. Why don’t you guys go, and I’ll catch up!”
Simba slowly followed Tarzan back into the jungle, frowning when the other boy stopped suddenly… before charging back towards the cliff…. And jumping off the edge.
“TARZAN! NO!” he cried out, chasing after the boy in order to try and catch him, only to skid to a halt as Tarzan screamed all the way down to the water.
Where he belly-flopped into it.
They all winced in sympathy, with one of the boys hissing, “That one hurt him!”
Terk however, was starting to panic. “Aunt Kala is going to kill me!” she whispered, “She’s going to kill me!”
“Yep.” Simba agreed, before leaning forwards and calling out “There he is!” in relief, as Tarzan slowly broke the surface of the water, gasping for air, “He’s alive!”
“Hey guys!” Tarzan called up at them, before turning away and starting to swim back towards the elephants, ignoring Terk’s protests.
“COME BACK! COME BACK!”
“This guy’s great!” One of the other gorillas called out, “If he lives, you should bring him round more often Terk!”
The other gorilla nodded eagerly, “Come on, let’s get a better seat!”
When they were both gone, Simba turned to Terk and shook his head. “Aunt Kala is going to kill you.”
“I know! I know!”
Simba could see the elephants stampeding towards him… but he couldn’t move.
//Hold on Simba! \\
Instead of elephant, it was wildebeest charging towards him.
He didn’t react to Terk’s voice, his legs frozen in place.
He barely felt the hand grab his paw and yank him to the side, just as the stampede rushed by.
“SIMBA! SNAP OUT OF IT!”
He didn’t respond.
All he could hear was his Father’s final screams.
When he next came to, it was to the screams of Terk as she dragged Tarzan out of the water.
“Tarzan! Speak to me buddy! Oh, not you too! Come on Tarzan! Don’t die on me, you weren’t supposed to do it!”
Slowly, Simba turned his attention the still form of his friend on the ground, and the elephant child pulling Terk away, crying out about piranhas.
“What?! He’s not a piranha, he’s- “
Suddenly, Tarzan started to cough, water spurting out of his mouth as he sucked in a desperate gasp of air.
“- He’s alive!” Terk cried out in relief, “He’s alive! He’s alive! He’s- You idiot!” Pushing Tarzan away from the hug she’d pulled him into, her entire attitude changed, “You almost gave me a heart attack, you happy? Simba was actually dead for a few minutes, are you happy?!”
“Ah-uh.” Tarzan held up one solitary hair.
“You… I can’t believe it. You got the hair?!”
Simba was still in shock, stumbling over as the elephant child showed off his own tail.
“My mom.” “My mom.”
As the gorillas raced towards them, Simba hung back, his eyes continuously darting towards the carnage that the elephants had left behind.
“Hi Aunt Kala.”
Kala ignored Terk picking Tarzan up in one arm and pulling Simba close with the other. “You scared me! Both of you! What happened?!”
Simba remained silent as Terk and Tarzan desperately tried to explain themselves, the random babbling only broken by the angry growl of Kerchak.
There was a brief moment of silence, before Tarzan cautiously moved forwards.
“It was my fault Kerchak.”
Kala frowned, “Tarzan…”
“We were playing…” Tarzan tried to explain, “… and, I’m sorry Kerchak!”
When Tarzan went to press his knuckles against the Alpha males’, Kerchak pulled away and glared at him. “You almost killed someone!”
“But, it was an accident!”
“He’s just a child!” Kala also protested, pulling Tarzan close as she stared down Kerchak.
“That’s no excuse Kala! You can’t keep defending him! You can’t learn to be one of us, he will never learn to be one of us!”
“That’s because you’re not giving him the chance!”
“A chance! Look at him Kala! He will never be one of us!”
Before Kala could reply, there was a muffled sob and Tarzan broke free of her hug, racing off into the jungle as the sound of crying followed him.
Watching him, sorrow on her voice, Kala turned away from Kerchak as he reached out for her, instead turning to Simba in concern.
“Are you alright sweetie?” she asked, “You look a little- “
“- I’m fine.” Simba knew he was rude by interrupting, pulling away from her touch as he raced into the jungle as well.
She wouldn’t understand.
Tarzan had only nearly killed someone.
He actually did.
Hours later, long after the sun had set in the sky, there was a rustling sound behind him.
Simba didn’t even look at him as Tarzan edged closer.
“Simba, are you alright?”
Shake of the head.
“Terk said that you were almost hurt by the- “ he stopped and cleared his throat, “- I’m sorry, I never meant to- “
“- My dad was killed by stampeding wildebeest.” Simba interrupted, eyes focused on his own paws as Tarzan shuffled closer, “I was practicing my roar and set them off. He t-t-tried to save me but- “ He cut himself off, turning his head to one side as tears started to stream down his face, “- But he d-d-didn’t make it!”
Tarzan felt like he was going to cry himself, as he shuffled closer, before wrapping his arms around Simba, pulling the lion cub close as he started to sob.
It was the first time he’d cried since coming here.
As tragic as the stampede could have been, a lot of good came out of it.
Terk, Simba and Tarzan grew closer together, all becoming friends with the elephant child, Tantor as well.
Of course, this meant that they were all dragged into Tarzan’s new plan to get Kerchak to like him.
From teaching how to climb branchless trees (Tarzan was very jealous of Simba’s claws), fighting, trapping animals to branch sliding, the group grew and developed.
For a time, everything was as perfect as it could be.
And then humans came to the jungle.
Chapter 3: Jane
‘Stay low to the ground.’
‘Not a sound.’
His Father’s lessons still rung in his ears as he prowled closer to his prey, his hunting partner beside him.
He opened his mouth to let out the primal hunting roar that would make his prey tremble in fear and-
“Don’t even think about it.”
Simba choked on his roar, with Tarzan groaning beside him, the pair of them moving to sit by Kala, digging into the bugs and fruit that she had in front of her.
“I thought lions were meant to be good at hunting…” Tarzan grumbled, shoving some fruit into his mouth, “… how did you know we there?”
“I’m your Mother, I know everything… now where were you two?”
“I thought you knew everythi- AH!”
Simba cackled as Tarzan was tackled to the ground by Terk, waving at the female gorilla as she smirked at them.
“Good morning Aunt K…” Terk waved at her, “… you’re looking remarkably well-groomed today.”
“Good morning Terk.” Kala sighed as Tarzan tackled Terk to the ground, “Sometimes Simba, I think you’re the only sensible- oh. Nevermind.”
Simba had already moved to follow the fight, heckling the pair of them as he prepared to scrap with the winner.
Mothers held their babies up in the air to avoid them from being caught up in the fight. Kerchak scowled at them, and Tantor desperately tried to stop everything.
Everything was perfectly normal.
“It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye!” Tantor whined, trying to avoid stepping on them, “Someone’s going to get hurt here, and it’s always me!”
Terk and Tarzan rolled down a nearby hill, Simba following on as Tarzan managed to get Terk in a chokehold.
“Okay, okay, okay!”
Neither Simba nor Tarzan heard her, both staring into the dense forest, their entire bodies taunt.
“Oh…” Tarzan shook his head and let Terk back away, “… sorry Terk.”
“What kind of an animal are you? I thought Simba was dangerous!”
Tarzan and Simba ignored her, glancing at one another before turning their attention back to the bushes and trees, ignorant to the argument going on behind them.
“- looks nothing like you!”
And then Sabor attacked.
The feral growl of the leopard echoed throughout the trees and the gorillas all scattered, leaping into the trees for safety. Simba and Tarzan did the same, with Simba only just making it as claws nearly scratched against his tail.
Thankfully, just before the leopard could scramble up the tree after the young pair, Kerchak grabbed its’ tail and threw it away. From the branches, Simba and Tarzan watched as Kerchak struggled against the ferocious predator.
Seeing the struggle, Tarzan fetched his spear from the nest as Simba’s claws tensed on the branches.
After one well-placed swipe, Kerchak fell to the ground, panting heavily with the effort as Sabor prowled around him. Seconds before she could lunge for his throat, Simba dived down from the branches and tackled the other predator to the ground, as Tarzan moved to protect Kerchak.
Seeing that Simba was struggling slightly, Tarzan moved to lure Sabor into the branches, hands grabbing onto vines and propelling him further and further into the heavy leaves and branches. With Sabor attempting an air attack on him, Tarzan only just managed to throw the leopard back down to the ground, the stone blade of the spear scratching the front leg of Sabor, causing her to hiss in pain.
Before she could attack again, she was swatted to the side by Simba, who growled in warning, tensing as they started to circle each other. Unphased by her own injury, Sabor lunged at Simba, swiping at him as the lion jumped backwards.
Her claws scraped across his upper left, front leg, causing him to hiss in pain as all the gorillas started to screech in concern.
Tarzan leapt down from the trees, landing on Sabor before she could lunge again, and distracting her from an injured Simba. The pair struggled furiously, with Tarzan’s spear being broken in the fight, the stone blade falling on top of a barely covered pit.
Everyone was tense, watching from the branches as Tarzan managed to grab the blade, only for Sabor to leap on top of him, causing them both to fall into the pit.
“Tarzan!” Simba cried out, limping forwards and moving to peer over the edge, only to take a step back when it appeared as though Sabor was coming back out, automatically moving into a defensive position.
There was a tense few moments, where nobody knew what exactly was going to happen.
Sabor was completely still.
As Tarzan climbed out of the pit, his stone blade stained with the blood of the leopard, the gorillas all around them started to shriek and whoop in glee and excitement.
“You did it!” Simba limped over, “You actually did it!”
“I-I- “ Tarzan seemed to be in shock, glancing around in shock as even those who had scorned him, pushed him away, all cheered for him. Once he brought himself together, he bent down and lifted Sabor’s body into the air, letting out a ferocious war bellow.
As he placed Sabor back on the ground, the gorillas all clambered down from the trees to surround Tarzan, all acting like they were his best friend.
“Okay, coming through, move to one side, best friend coming through!”
Ignoring Simba’s quiet protests about he was the ‘best friend’, Terk pushed her way through the crowd, slapping Tarzan on the arm.
“Don’t ever do that again…” she grumbled, trying to play it cool, “… all this hero stuff. You just want all the attention.”
As Terk continued to natter on, with Simba continuing to protest about the best friend status, Tarzan spotted Kerchak on the edge of his vision.
The Alpha of their family looked ashamed, as he listened to everyone cheering on the very son that he’d rejected. Silently, and without drawing attention to himself, Kerchak retreated, clearly hoping to retire back to the shadows and avoid the uncomfortable situation.
Tarzan wasn’t going to let that happen.
This possibly was the best chance that he had to make things good between them.
Slowly, he lifted Sabor onto his shoulders and climbed up to where Kerchak was, waiting until he turned around, before laying the leopard at Kerchak’s feet, moving into a bow as the rest of the gorillas and Simba followed him up there, with Kala leading the way.
For a moment, it almost looked like Kerchak was going to say something… pleasant.
And then a loud crack echoed throughout the jungle, causing everyone to tense in alarm. As Tantor tried to explain that it wasn’t him, Tarzan frowned in curiosity. “What was that?”
Like a spell on him had been broken, Kerchak’s customary frown appeared on his face and he turned to leave, “Everyone. Let’s move.”
Tarzan and Simba moved to follow the rest of the gorillas… until Tarzan grabbed Simba’s tail.
“Hey!” Simba hissed, “I told you not to- “
“- come on.” Tarzan interrupted, “Let’s go and see what’s happened.”
Tarzan didn’t wait, heading back towards the sound, clearly expecting Simba to follow on behind as another loud noise echoed throughout the jungle.
“You know, the last time I didn’t follow the rules, I ended up being attacked by hyenas in an elephant graveyard!” Simba called out, to Tarzan’s retreating back, “Just a fair warning!”
The bamboo sticks had practically all been destroyed, cut in half by something sharp.
“Do you smell that?” Tarzan asked as they prowled along the ground, “Almost… burning?”
Simba nodded, continuing to move forwards, until his paw knocked against something unfamiliar. “Tarzan…” he whispered, “… look at that.”
The yellow object was strange and cool to the touch, as Tarzan examined it carefully. He sniffed it a couple of times, before licking the outside. As his tongue darted into the hollow bit of the strange object, he grimaced and pulled it away, just as another CRACK pierced the silence, this time, a lot closer by.
“Stay here…” Tarzan ordered, before he clambered back up a nearby tree, clearly spotting something as he disappeared into the shadows, leaving Simba alone.
When there was no sign of him returning any time soon, and more loud noises echoing throughout the area, Simba slowly headed back towards the gorillas, hoping to find them before it got dark
It was probably nothing.
It was something.
It was definitely something.
“I can’t believe you guys wandered off!” Terk scolded Simba, having bumped into him as he was making his way back to them, “Kala is beside herself!”
“What did you find?” Tantor asked, “Was it… wild? Poisonous?”
Simba shrugged, choosing to stick with the small group, consisting of Terk, Tantor, Flynt, Mungo and couple of other gorillas. “Nothing… alarming. Just strange.”
“Boring.” Terk and the others then started to call out for their friend, “TARZAN! TARZAN!”
As they moved through the jungle, their calls got louder and louder.
“Let’s hope we find him before Kerchak does!”
“Maybe he got lost?”
“Or he found something more interesting?”
At this statement, Terk rolled her eyes and waved a hand in dismissal, “What are you, nuts? What could be more interesting than us?”
Before Simba or the others could say anything in reply, they finally broke through the tree-line into a clearing.
They all stopped in shock.
“THE HORROR!” Tantor cried out at the sight of the unfamiliar objects, throwing himself to the ground and covering his eyes with his front legs, using his trunk to try and cover himself with sand.
The others looked on in both amusement and embarrassment.
“Knock it off, you’re embarrassing me!” Terk hissed, “None of this stuff is alive!”
As Tantor tried to play his freak-out off, Simba couldn’t help but chuckle as they headed further into the clearing, sniffing at the strange objects.
Really, with these lot, it was no surprise when stuff got broken and destroyed, the noise of the destruction echoing throughout the area.
Whoever owned these things must have heard what was going on.
They’d be on their way back soon.
“Guys!” Simba hissed, trying to get their attention, “GUYS!”
Jane was grateful when the terrifying fly through the jungle finally came to an end, her and Tarzan dropping down into the grass area surrounding her camp… her destroyed camp.
Not that she was focusing on that, however.
“Gorillas!” she whispered, her eyes scanning over the dozen or so that were jumping all over their plates and clothes. Her eyes passed over the elephant… and then she spotted the lion.
Before she could scream, or question why the lion was even in that part of Africa, one of the gorillas and the lion in question spotted Tarzan and eagerly bounded over to him, the gorilla almost wrestling him to the ground as the lion batted at him playfully, growling lowly as though scolding the wild man.
The wild man who was talking back to them.
“He’s one of them…” Jane found herself whispering, her eyes widening when the gorilla and the lion finally seemed to spot her, the pair of them shuffling curiously towards her.
She felt no fear, not even when the lion straightened up to his full height.
However, before she could even think about examining them their eyes suddenly widened and they took several steps back.
It was then that Jane felt something breathing on the back of her neck. When she turned around, she yelped slightly, “Oh… my… God.”
The largest gorilla she’s ever seen was standing behind her.
And then he roared, prompting her to fall to the ground and grab the nearest object she could find, for defence. When she next looked up, a female gorilla was pulling Tarzan away and then they were gone, just as her Father and Clayton re-entered the camp.
Chapter 4: Conflict
“Everyone! We will avoid the strangers!” Kerchak ordered, once they were all back and safely away from prying eyes, “Do not let them see you, and do not seek them out!”
“They mean us no harm Kerchak!” Tarzan suddenly called out, ignoring Simba, Terk and Kala’s hissed whispers for him to shut up and be quiet.
“Tarzan, I don’t know them!”
“But I do, I’ve spent time with them!”
“You might be willing to risk our safety, but I’m not!”
“Why are you threatened by anyone different than you?!”
Both Simba and Terk winced at the volume of Tarzan’s voice and how their friend got right up in Kerchak’s face. There was a brief moment of silence, before Kerchak growled and straightened up to his full height.
“Protect this family… don’t go near the strangers.” He ordered.
Tarzan let out a growl of his own, storming away as Kala rushed to cut Tarzan off. “Tarzan please!” she begged, “For once, listen to Kerchak and- “
“- Why didn’t you tell me there were creatures that looked like me?” He snarled, interrupting her, before clambering up the nearest tree, his back to the others.
“No, leave him be.” Kala stopped Simba in his tracks, “He needs some time alone.”
At first, it seemed like Tarzan was spending every day alone, leaving early in the morning and coming back late at night.
And it was driving Simba insane.
“Tarzan, Tarzan!” he hissed, early one morning when he finally caught his adoptive brother sneaking out of the trees, “Tarzan, where are you going?”
Tarzan hesitated for a few moments, before plastering a clearly fake smile on his face. “I was just… going for a wander.”
“Is that what you’ve done for the last few weeks?” Simba knew his tone was angry, which was probably why Tarzan clammed up so quickly, “I mean- “
“- just leave it.”
And then Tarzan was gone, with Kala and Terk making their way over to Simba and placing their hands on his back as reassurance.
The next time Simba managed to catch up with Tarzan, his adoptive brother was picking flowers.
“Tarzan… what are you doing?”
And then it clicked in Simba’s mind.
“You’ve been seeing the others, haven’t you? The ones who look like you.”
The guilty look on Tarzan’s face said it all.
“Tarzan, if Kerchak catches you- “
“- I think she’s my mate!”
Simba stood there in shock for a few moments, “Y-Your mate?” When Tarzan nodded eagerly, Simba knew his mouth was gaping open slightly, “But… what are you going to- “
“- I’m going to ask her to stay with me… here! In the jungle!”
“…. You’re mad!”
Tarzan just rolled his eyes at this, “Oh come on… are you saying that, if another lion… a girl showed up… you wouldn’t be interested.”
Unwillingly, Simba found his thoughts flashing to Nala…. How was she doing nowadays? Was she even still alive? Shaking these thoughts away, Simba sighed, “I just… don’t want you to get hurt.”
And then Tarzan was gone, swinging through the branches before Simba could say anything else.
It all went wrong almost seven hours later.
Curled up near Kala as she picked some flowers, Simba’s ears pricked up as he heard Tarzan climbing over the ledge. Raising his head lazily, he opened his mouth to greet him, only to stop when the strangers followed Tarzan.
“…. She’s beautiful.” Jane whispered, staring at the female gorilla in awe.
“She’s… my mother.”
Jane turned to Tarzan in shock, “Y-your… mother?”
Nodding, Tarzan gestured at the lion next, “And my brother.”
“I can’t believe it…” Her father whispered, “… that lion is so far from his natural habitat! How did he even end up here? He should be trying to lead a pack of his own!”
The lion seemed to know that he was being talked about, crouching low to the ground, tail flicking with displeasure.
“It’s okay…” Tarzan crouched down, smiling softly as his mother and Simba started to back away, “… Everything’s okay. They’re really nice and- “
“- Tarzan… stop.” Simba growled, watching how the large stranger stared at him, hand moving over to the long object that was slung over his back, “You shouldn’t have brought them here.”
Seeing that him and Kala were moving backwards, the strangers spoke to one another for a few moments, before the female and the older male suddenly crouched low to the ground and started making vaguely gorilla sounds.
Needless to say, it wasn’t a surprise when the rest of the family started to come forwards, watching the strange display from up above.
One of the strangers fell to the ground as all the gorillas started to move closer, several of the younger ones heading towards the older man, as the babies moved over to the female. Keeping a careful eye on the babies, Simba moved closer to the female stranger, rolling his eyes as the shyer babies started to climb all over him, strong hands pulling at his bright red mane.
And then a slim hand brushed against the top of his head. Silently, he turned, watching as the female stranger stopped dead in her tracks, clearly not daring to move any closer. With a deep sigh and a roll of his eyes, he lowered himself slightly, allowing her to examine him a little closer.
“Daddy…” Jane hissed, keeping up the gentle motions on the lion, “… Daddy, look.”
Her Father was far too busy with the gorillas… Clayton however, seemed very interested.
A shiver went up her spine.
However, before she could say anything, the baby gorillas suddenly leapt off of her and the lion, rushing over to Tarzan, who playfully rolled around with them. The lion closely followed them, almost seeming to talk to Tarzan.
“So… can we assume that Kerchak’s sudden disappearance is because of you?”
Tarzan winced guiltily, “I managed to convince Terk and Tantor to distract him so that they could meet everyone without… him.”
“Oh… that’s going to go well.”
As Tarzan winced again, the female stranger shuffled closer, asking Tarzan something. Tarzan’s face instantly lit up, as he nodded eagerly to whatever she asked.
As soon as Tarzan started talking, Simba knew exactly what he was doing.
“It’s not gonna work you know.” He grumbled, spotting Kala out of the corner of his eye, and heading over there, listening as the female stranger started copying Tarzan, the babies all going wild.
“He really loves her, doesn’t he?” Kala asked, a soft, but unsure smile on her face.
Before Kala could venture forwards, in order to get to know the female stranger a little better, Terk and Tantor came crashing through the trees, both yelling in alarm before they came to a stop.
Even before Tarzan said anything, Simba knew something bad was going to happen, gently batting at the babies in silent encouragement for them to scurry back to their mothers.
Seconds after Terk and Tantor crashed through the branches, Kerchak followed soon after, mouth still partially open in a vicious snarl… and then stopping at the sight of the strangers just standing there.
“Kerchak… please- “ Tarzan began, only for the taller male stranger to yank his shiny object out of someone’s hands and point it at them.
It was aggressive… and Simba honestly didn’t blame Kerchak for reacting the way he did.
As Tarzan fought Kerchak, keeping him away from the strangers, Kala and Simba both cried out their protests, pleading with them both to stop.
“Tarzan, stop! You’re going to kill him!”
With the strangers gone, Tarzan finally seemed to come to his senses, letting go of his death-hold around Kerchak’s throat and taking several steps back, glancing at his hands in shock. When he looked around, Terk and his other friends seemed just as shocked as him.
Kala just looked heart-broken.
“Kerchak, I didn’t… I’m sorry, I- “
“- You swore to protect this family.” Kerchak interrupted, “But you have betrayed us all.”
Tarzan shook his head in dismay, before backing out of the clearing and running away.
From there, the rest of the gorillas all started to back away, leaving Simba and Kala alone.
“I should have told him the truth a long time ago.” Kala sighed, breaking the silence.
“…. The truth?”
“You remember when you first came to us?” When Simba nodded, Kala sighed again, “Well… I found Tarzan in much the same way, although he was only a baby.”
“So… his parents were like the strangers? They looked like that?”
“Yes… they had been killed by Sabor shortly before I found him however.”
Simba’s eyes widened, but before he could say anything, Kala started to head in the direction that Tarzan had headed in.
“Kala….” When she turned Simba continued, “… what are you going to tell him?”
Kala just shook her head, heading further into the trees.
Her face said it all.
Chapter 5: Goodbye
“So…. Tarzan’s leaving?”
Terk’s voice was low and hurt, her eyes wide as Kala nodded wearily.
“You know how… troubled he’s gets about not fitting in.” Kala sighed, “This is what’s best for him.”
“B-but….” Simba frowned, “… he’s going to come and say goodbye, right?”
Almost immediately, Kala’s eyes filled with tears and she shook her head, turning away from them and practically running off, her muffled sobs causing everyone else to turn around in concern.
“He won’t leave without saying goodbye… right?” Tantor asked, glancing between Terk and Simba, “He wouldn’t do that to us! We’re his friends!”
“He wouldn’t… right?”
“Yeah, he would…” Simba eventually growled, pushing himself to his feet, just as the sun started to rise over the horizon, “Come on! Maybe we can catch up to him!”
Tantor placed Terk on his back, quickly charging after Simba, towards the beach. But they were too late… Tarzan was already heading to the giant object in the middle of the sea.
“TARZAN!” “TARZAN!” “TARZAN!” They all cried out desperately, but to no avail.
“We’re too late!” Terk practically screamed, “If someone had just asked for directions, we could have made it!”
Simba chose not to comment, eyes focused on the small figures heading away from them. He opened his mouth to roar, to beg Tarzan to come back… but the sound got stuck in his throat.
“We didn’t even get to say goodbye…” he finally whispered, not even flinching when Terk lost her temper, grabbing sticks and rocks, throwing them into the ocean, and screaming about how they never needed him anyway.
“- BALD INGRATE!” Terk screamed, “YOU BALD INGRATE, GO AND ROT FOR ALL I CARE! GO!”
Worn out, she went to sit by the others, scowling when Tantor glanced over at her.
“What are you looking at?”
“… We’re all going to miss him too.”
There was a brief moment of silence, where Simba and Tantor both thought Terk was actually going to cry… until he growled, punching Tantor in the foot, before storming into the jungle.
With one last glance back at the sea, Tantor and Simba followed her.
It was probably less than ten minutes later, when they heard the pained bellow echo throughout the trees and bushes, prompting them all to turn around.
“That sounds like Tarzan!” Tantor exclaimed, turning back towards the sea and frowning in concern, “He sounds like he’s in trouble!”
Terk scoffed, “Well, why doesn’t he get his new friends to help him? I don’t care.”
Only barely getting out of the way, Simba yelped as Tantor’s trunk suddenly shot forwards, grabbing Terk and pulling her closer.
“THAT’S IT!” Tantor yelled in Terk’s face, “I’VE HAD IT WITH YOU AND YOUR EMOTIONAL CONSTIPATION! TARZAN NEEDS US, AND WE’RE GONNA HELP HIM, YOU GOT THAT?! NOW PIPE DOWN AND HANG ON TIGHT!” He then turned to Simba, “You just keep up… we’ve got a boat to catch.”
What else but Simba do but follow, leaping over and logs and bushes as the elephant charged… straight off a cliff and into the sea, Terk and Simba screaming behind him.
“I’VE NEVER FELT SO ALIVE!”
Soaked and cold, Terk and Simba glared at Tantor.
“Good…” Terk hissed, “…’Cause I’m gonna KILL YOU!”
“No time for that now Missy.”
As they saw a smaller boat coming towards them, they ducked under the water, swimming towards the larger boat.
“Alright genius…” Terk grumbled, once they were right next to it, “… how exactly do we save Tarzan now?”
“… Hang on.”
“All those magnificent creatures…” the Professor sighed in sorrow, “… shivering in cages. And that lion! That poor, poor lion… Clayton will have him- “he cut himself off, glancing over at Tarzan, “- well, what is this world coming too!”
As he struck the wall of the ship, it rocked violently , sending everyone flying to one side, impacting heavily with the metal walls.
“By Jove… I don’t know my own strength.”
Outside, there was a harsh scraping noise… almost like claws on metal.
“I can’t believe that worked…” Simba panted as he took a quick break on the deck of the boat, glancing over the side of the boat that they had just climbed up, “… how did we manage that?”
“Don’t question it!”
As the metal grating above them was smashed and an elephant’s trumpeting rang out, Tarzan couldn’t help but beam in delight at what he saw.
The elephant smiled back at him, truck reaching down to lift Tarzan up and onto the deck, where Terk and Simba were waiting with hugs and scolding.
“I thought I would never see you again!” Terk practically sobbed.
As Tantor pulled the gorilla away, Tarzan turned to Simba. “We need to hurry back!” he gasped, “Clayton’s gone after the gorillas!”
“Lead the way!”
Together, they both dived into the ocean and started to make their way back to the shoreline.
As they raced through the jungle, herds of elephants, baboons and other creatures of the jungle started to follow them.
Such an invasion could not be taken lightly.
Soon reaching the clearing, Tarzan let out a bone-chilling war cry, swinging through the trees and kicking Tarzan in the face, sending him flying to the ground just before he could hurt Kerchak. The hunters that were pinning the Alpha gorilla to the ground, were soon taken care of as Simba leapt at them.
Those who didn’t run for their lives, were swiped at and sent flying to the ground. Simba then used his claws to slice through the rope as Tarzan rushed over.
“You… came back?” Kerchak whispered in shock as he stared at Tarzan.
“… I came home.”
Before Kerchak could say anything else, his eyes suddenly widened and he shoved Tarzan to the side, knocking a hunter out in the same breath as the others took out the rest of the hunters, with Jane even taking out the pair that were trying to take Tarzan’s mother away.
And then the CRACK of a gunshot echoed throughout the jungle, and Tarzan yelled in pain, falling to the ground.
Simba’s eyes instantly darted to the shadows, where Clayton was re-loading his weapon. With a growl, he prowled forwards, intending to pounce on the man and end this once and for all.
And then the roar of a feral gorilla shook everyone to their cores.
Kerchak charged forwards, teeth on full show, his anger clearly evident. Just before he reached Clayton, the man finished reloading and turned his gun on the Alpha, a wicked smirk flashing across his face before he pulled the trigger.
“KERCHAK!!!!” Tarzan screamed, his mother and Simba’s cries following on behind.
As Tarzan went on the attack, Simba rushed to Kerchak’s side, growling at the smell of blood in the air. With each gunshot sound, the group all flinched.
“You have to help Tarzan!” Kala urged Simba, “Please, you have to- “
“- CLAYTON, NO!”
At the scream, Simba charged forwards into the shadowed area, skidding to a stop when he saw Tarzan huddled on the ground…. He took a step back when he glanced up ever so slightly and saw the body hanging there.
“- I tried to stop him.” Tarzan whispered, his face pale with the shock of it all, “I tried to- “
“- I know. I know.” Simba made his way over, nudging his adoptive brother in the side, “You did everything that you could.”
Tarzan was silent for a few moments, deliberately not looking at the swinging body. Suddenly, his entire body tensed, and he turned to Simba, “Kerchak?”
Simba didn’t need to say anything.
It wasn’t good.
“Tarzan… Simba.” Kerchak whispered as they shuffled closer to him, both taking in Kala’s tears and the way the rest of the family had gathered around as the rain poured down from the heavens.
“Kerchak…” Tarzan gulped, “… I’m so sorry!”
Kerchak weakly shook his head, “No… forgive me… for not understanding… that you have always been one of us.”
Eyes widening, Tarzan leaned in closer when Kerchak gestured at him to do so.
“Our family… will look to you now.”
The Alpha weakly raised one hand up to grip Tarzan’s shoulder, “Take care of them… my son.”
Tarzan gripped the hand, just as Kerchak whispered one last plead for Tarzan to take care of the family, before the giant hand fell limp and fell back to the ground. As Tarzan pulled the limp body into a tearful hug, the rest of the family bowed their heads in mourning.
“He was with family…” Simba whispered, making his way up behind Tarzan and placing a paw on his shoulder, “… he passed on with family surrounding him, and that’s what matters.”
Remembering how Simba had gone through something like this before, Tarzan turned to him and pulled him into a hug of his own. “I’m sorry.”
“… Thank you.” Simba couldn’t bring himself to look at Kerchak’s body. He was lucky that someone was there at home to take over as King after his Dad’s death… Tarzan wasn’t so lucky.
“Come on…” he whispered, “… the family needs you now.”
There was a brief moment of hesitation, before Tarzan nodded, turning around to face the other gorillas, before assuming the Alpha position and beating his chest with his fists. With his position secure, he started to head into the jungle, knowing that he needed to find them a new place to sleep for the night.
He didn’t even look back at poor Jane.
A little over a day later, when the sun has rose in the sky and Clayton’s body had been loaded onto the ship (no matter who he was, he deserved to go home), Jane and the Professor were ready to leave.
“London is going to seen so small compared to all this.”
Tarzan looked like his heart was breaking, “I- I’m going to miss you Jane.”
The ship honked and the Captain called out from the rowboat, “Miss Porter!”
“I know, I know!”
Simba shook his head… Jane looked just as heartbroken as Tarzan.
“So…” Jane held out her hand, “… I guess we should say goodbye?”
Slowly, Tarzan reached out, moving their hands so that they were pressing up against one another, palm to palm, a tense silence falling over the beach. “Goodbye…” he whispered.
Almost instantly, Jane broke away, rushing over to the boat, climbing in and setting off.
“I wanted her to stay.” Tarzan whispered, “I thought that if I couldn’t leave, then she would stay.”
A gust of wind ruffled their hair, both of them hearing a yelp of alarm from Jane as one of her gloves flew out of her hand and straight towards them, Sadly, Tarzan plucked it out of the water.
“I-I think I love her.” He whispered.
Before Simba could say anything in reply, there was a large splash and Tarzan darted forwards into the water, meeting Jane as she leapt at him, sending them both crashing into the water before she eagerly pressed her lips against his.
As she tried to pull away, babbling frantically, Simba found himself beaming at the sight of Tarzan cutting her off with another kiss.
It was only then that Jane noticed their audience.
As Tarzan helped her back to shore, she nervously glanced around at all the gorillas, Tantor and Simba, only vaguely hearing another splash behind her.
Slowly, Kala moved forwards, taking Jane’s hand in silent acceptance of her, before pulling her over to the others. As Tarzan opened his mouth, probably to explain the situation, Jane placed a hand on his chest and cleared her throat.
“Jane stay with Tarzan.” She managed, laughing as everyone burst out into cheering and whoops of glee.
Their family was complete.
And despite the pang in his chest, Simba couldn’t help but feel happy for Tarzan.
Chapter 6: Nala
At first, Terk thought Simba was playing a prank on her.
With Tarzan and Jane so busy, it was no surprise that Simba was spending so much time with them now.
It was only when she heard the growling, that she realised exactly what was going on.
As she raced back into the jungles, her screams echoing throughout the trees, the lion gave chase.
As she tried to dive to freedom, she found herself stuck under a tree root, just as Tarzan and Tantor burst through the trees. “TERK TERK!”
“SHE’S GONNA EAT ME!!!”
Glancing up, Tantor shrieked at the sight of the lioness prowling towards them, trunk tugging at Terk to try and free her.
“Why do we always have to save your AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!”
As the lioness pounced at them, Simba leapt over the top of them, pushing the other lion away. As the two battled it out, Tantor and Tarzan remained on the side-lines. Tantor was still trying to pull Terk free, whereas Tarzan was constantly focused on the fight, knowing that there was a chance he might need to step in.
For a moment, it looked like Simba had the upper hand, until the lioness pinned him against the ground. She looked angry… but Simba seemed to have gone into shock.
“Nala?” he whispered.
The lioness’s eyes widened, and her face dropped, quickly scrambling off of Simba as he pushed himself to his feet.
“Is it- is it really you?”
The lioness, Nala frowned, “Who are you?”
“It’s me… it’s Simba.”
The pair stared at each other for a few moments, before suddenly whooping in glee and bouncing around each other, occasionally bumping heads as they talked over one another, leaving the other three to stare at them in shock.
“Ummm, what’s going on?” Terk asked, as Tantor lowered her to the ground, letting her stride over to the two lions, “Hey! Yo! HEY!”
Both lions stopped in shock as Terk continued.
“WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?!”
“Guys, this is Nala!” Simba sounded happier then they had ever heard him, “She’s my best friend!”
Tarzan ignored the sharp ache in his heart at these words, “Your… best friend?”
“Yeah! Nala, meet Tantor, Terk and Tarzan!”
“Pleased to meet you!” Tantor didn’t seem to notice the tension, as Nala repeated the greeting back at him.
“Woah, woah, woah!” Terk slapped him and frowned, “Don’t go making pleasantries with the lion who tried to kill me!”
“Okay, okay….” Tarzan placed a calming hand on Terk’s shoulder, and gently pulled him back, “… let’s all calm down and get things straights. “He turned his attention to Simba, “So, you know her, and she knows you… and she just tried to eat Terk. Am I forgetting anything?”
Sheepishly, Simba nodded, as Nala spoke up again.
“Wait until everyone finds out you’ve been here all this time… and your mother! What will she think?”
It was weird thinking of Simba having a mother who wasn’t Kala, and this must have shown on Tarzan’s face, as Simba winced. “She…” Simba sighed, “… She doesn’t need to know. Nobody has to know.”
Nala frowned, “What? Of course she needs to know! Everyone needs to know, we all thought you were dead!”
“… You did?”
“Yeah…” Nala nodded sadly, “… Scar told us about the stampede.”
Tarzan fought to keep his face blank, thinking back to a conversation he’d had with Simba so long ago.
“He did… what else did he tell you?”
“What else matter?! You’re alive, and that means…” she stopped, and beamed at Simba, “… that means, you’re the King!”
Jaws dropped, before Terk nervously broke the silence with a chuckle, “Lady, I think you’ve got your lions mixed up! Simba? A King?”
“A King?” Tarzan stepped closer, a frown on his face, “Simba… is that true?”
“Of course it’s not true!” Terk desperately spoke up, “Simba can’t be a king, right?”
Simba nodded, agreeing with Terk, even as Nala frowned.
“Alright!” Simba moved past his friends and sighed, keeping his back to them, “Maybe I was going to be King, but that was a long time ago!”
Terk and Tarzan glanced at one another, before Tarzan moved closer and placed a hand on Simba’s shoulder, “Simba, why didn’t you ever tell me that you were- “
“- it wasn’t important!”
An awkward silence fell over the clearing, before Nala nervously cleared her throat, turning to Tantor, Terk and Tarzan, “Would you guys excuse us for a few moments.”
Terk frowned and shook her head, “Hey, whatever you have to say to Simba, you can say in front of us, right?”
Sheepishly, Simba glanced at his friends, before shaking his head, “Maybe- maybe you guys should go.”
There was a stunned silence, before Terk threw her hands up into the air, “First Tarzan and now you! What happened to the single life!”
Terk just waved her hand in acknowledgement of Simba’s protest, before storming into the jungle, closely followed by Tantor and Tarzan. Once they were out of sight, Simba turned to Nala and shrugged sheepishly.
“They mean well…. You grow to love them really.”
Nala just moved right past him, head hung low, causing Simba to frown in concern. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
“… It’s like you’re back from the dead.” Nala whispered, “You don’t know how much this will mean to everyone… how much it means to me.”
She turned back to him and brushed him against him, rubbing the top of her head under his chin. “I really missed you.”
“I missed you too.”
“What’s wrong?” Jane asked as she watched Tarzan. Terk and Tantor shuffle into the area, “Where’s Simba.”
“With his new mate.” Terk growled, before storming away, closely followed by Tantor. Knowing that she wasn’t going to get any answers from them, Jane turned to Tarzan and tilted her head to one side in silent question.
Tarzan wearily, “Simba’s childhood friend, Nala’s here… apparently, he’s not told us everything.”
“What do you- “
“- Simba was next in line to the throne. He was meant to be the King of his Pride.” Tarzan could feel the annoyance building up again, forcing him to take several deep breaths.
“…. And you think he’s going to leave.”
“I know he’ll leave. How couldn’t he.”
However, days passed by, and whilst Tarzan didn’t really see Simba as often as he usually did, it was clear that the lion hadn’t left.
Instead, Simba filled his days with Nala.
Taking her to see the gorgeous waterfalls and swimming in the blue lakes. Running through the open fields and scaring the birds, rolling down grassy hills and… having fun under the night sky.
It was like he’d forgotten all about them.
“He’ll forget about her…” Terk stated one evening, “… You didn’t leave because of a pretty girl, why would he?”
“Isn’t this a great place?!” Simba sighed happily as they walked over a moss and vine covered fallen tree.
“… It is beautiful. But I don’t understand something… you’ve been alive all this time, why haven’t you ever come back to Pride Rock?!”
Simba winced, looking away and focusing on the tree-line, “Well… I-I just needed to get out on my own, get my own life.” He hopped into some vines and relaxed, smiling at Nala nonchalantly, “And I did, and it’s great!”
“We really could have needed you at home.”
“No-one needs me and- “
“- Yes, we do!” Nala furiously interrupted, “You’re the King!”
“Nala, we’ve been through this, I’m not the King… Scar is.”
There was a brief pause, before Nala shook her head, “He let the hyenas take over the Pride Lands.”
“Everything’s destroyed. There’s no food, no water… Simba if you don’t do something, everyone will starve!”
Simba practically deflated, “I can’t go back.” He jumped out of the vines and started to walk away.
“You wouldn’t understand!”
“What wouldn’t I understand?”
“I-it doesn’t matter…” He couldn’t tell her. He couldn’t tell her that he was the one to blame for his Dad’s death, he couldn’t have her look at him like he was a monster, “… look sometimes bad things happen- “
“And there’s nothing you can do about it! So why worry!”
“Because it’s your responsibility!”
Simba paused turning back to Nala and frowning, “Well… what about you?! You left!”
“I left to find help, and then I found you! Don’t you understand? You’re our only hope!”
Nala reared back at the coldness in his tone, before shaking her head, “What happened to you? You’re not the Simba I remember.”
“You’re right, I’m not!” he snapped, “Satisfied now?”
“No… just disappointed.”
He didn’t think it was ever possible, but Simba found himself getting even more frustrated at those words. “You’re starting to sound like my Father.”
“Good. At least one of us does.”
Simba snapped, “Listen! You think you can show up here and tell me how to live my life?! You don’t even know what I’ve been through!”
“I would, if you’d just tell me!”
Simba stormed away as quickly as he could, quickly coming to the edge of a cliff… where he collapsed, sending a cloud of pollen and seeds into the air, which were then carried by the wind.
Somewhere in the distance, a monkey started to cackle in glee.
Chapter 7: Remember Who You Are
It was on his way back to the gorillas’ nests that Simba heard the monkey chanting. It definitely wasn’t a familiar voice, like one of the baboons who followed their family around all day, the baby one entranced with Jane and her drawings.
Glancing over his shoulder, Simba frowned at the sight of an unknown baboon in a tree.
Best to ignore these things.
Musing on a log that overlooked a small stream, Simba slowly started to lose his temper as the peace was disturbed by rocks being thrown into the water. “Come on! Cut it out!”
“Can’t cut it out, it’ll grow right back!”
The baboon then started to follow him, causing Simba to get more and more annoyed. “Creepy monkey… will you stop following me?! Who are you?!”
“The question is, who are you?”
Simba was about to snap again, only to frown and shake his head, “I thought it knew… now I’m not so sure.”
“Well I know who you are!” the baboon waved him closer, “Come closer, it’s a secret.”
When the baboon then started up his chant once again, Simba snarled in frustration, pulling himself away, “Stop that! What does that even mean?!”
“it’s means that you’re a baboon… and I am not.”
Rolling his eyes as the baboon started cackling again, Simba moved to leave. “I think you’re a little confused.”
Simba resisted the urge to yelp as the baboon suddenly appeared in front of him.
“I’m not the one who’s confused, you don’t even know who you are!”
“Oh, and I suppose you do?”
“Sure do. You’re Mufasa’s boy!”
Simba hadn’t heard that name in years, and the sound of it caused him to spin around in shock, eyes widening as the baboon waved him goodbye and darted off into the distance. What else could Simba do, but follow him.
When he caught up, the baboon was sitting on a rock, eyes closed and not reacting to the world around him.
“You knew my Father?”
“Correction… I know your Father.”
Simba winced, “Well-well, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but he died. A long time ago.”
“Ha! Wrong again!” The baboon leapt to his feet and darted forwards, “He’s alive! And I’ll how him to you! You follow old Rafiki, he knows the way!” And with that, he rushed into the deepest, thickest part of the jungle, prompting Simba to follow on behind.
He ran as fast as he could, desperately trying to keep up with the baboon. After a few minutes of ripping through vines and stumbling over low tree roots, the baboon suddenly appeared in front of him and held up a hand.
Simba had to… otherwise he would have run right over the poor monkey.
The baboon hopped away, peering through long grass, before gesturing for Simba to follow him, holding a finger up to his lips. “Look down there.”
Slowly, Simba made his way forwards, leaning over the edge of a bank, only to sigh when he saw his own face staring back up at him.
“That’s- that’s just my reflection.”
“Nooooo…. Look harder!”
So Simba looked again, eyes widening when the water rippled as his Father’s face stared back up at him.
“You see…” the baboon whispered, “… he lives in you.”
Thunder rumbled overhead… or at least it sounded like thunder at first.
“F-father?!” Simba looked up to the skies, where clouds rolled forwards, two dark figures almost seeming to walk through them, straight towards him. As they got closer, Simba realised with a pang that it was his Father and Kerchak striding towards him.
“SIMBA.” The ghost of his Father sighed, “YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN ME.”
“No!” Simba desperately shook his head, “How could I?”
“YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN WHO YOU ARE, AND SO HAVE FORGOTTEN ME. LOOK INSIDE YOURSELF SIMBA… YOU ARE MORE THAN WHAT YOU HAVE BECOME. YOU MUST TAKE YOUR PLACE IN THE CIRCLE OF LIFE.”
“How can I go back?! I’m not who I used to be!”
This time, it was Kerchak who spoke up, “NO… YOU ARE FAR WISER NOW, BETTER FOR TRAVELLING DOWN THE PATH YOU DID.”
“REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE…” Mufasa continued, “… YOU ARE MY SON, AND THE ONE TRUE KING. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE.”
The clouds started to fade away, Mufasa and Kerchak’s conjoined voices started to fade as well, with Simba rushing forwards to try and catch them.
“No! Please! Don’t leave me…. Father! Kerchak! Don’t leave me.”
But they were gone, and Simba collapsed to the ground in defeat.
He was lost.
And then he heard the cackling all over again.
“What was that?!” The baboon chuckled, “The weather… very peculiar, don’t you think?”
Simba nodded slowly, “Yeah… looks like the winds are changing.”
“Ah. Change is good.”
“Yeah, but it’s not easy.” Simba sighed, “I know what I have to do, but going back means facing my past. I’ve been running from it for so long.”
He yelped as the baboon slammed his staff down on Simba’s head, the pain reverberating down his spine.
“OW! Jeez! What was that for?!”
“It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past!”
“Yeah, but it still hurts.”
The baboon nodded wisely, “Ah yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.” He swung his stick again, and Simba managed to duck this time, as the baboon cackled in glee.
“Ha! So what are you going to do?”
Simba smirked, “Well first, I’m going to take your stick.” As the baboon protested, Simba threw the stick behind him and took off running.
“Hey, where are you going?!”
“I’m going back!”
“Good! Go on! Get out of here!”
Spurred on by the baboon’s cheers, Simba made a run for it.
Thinking back, he realised he should have said goodbye.
Jane murmured sleepily when she felt something nudge her back, prompting her to shuffle closer to Tarzan in her sleep.
When she was nudged for the third time, she rolled over, believing that it was just Simba waking them up. However, when she saw the strange lion standing right there, she couldn’t help but scream, shooting into a seated position and startling Tarzan awake.
The lioness was also backing away, looking concerned by the reaction as Tarzan leapt into a fighting pose, only relaxing when he realised who it was. “It’s okay…” he reassured Jane, “… It’s okay. It’s Nala, Simba’s old… friend.”
“Can you please tell her not to do that?!” Jane clutched at the area over her heart, “That’s one thing I don’t miss about London… being woken up by a carnivore.”
The lioness looked amused by this, before rumbling something at Tarzan. Jane had been getting used to the lion language, but the poor thing was so frantic, that Jane couldn’t pick anything out.
“You don’t know where Simba is?” Tarzan frowned, “I thought he was with you?”
The lioness rumbled something again, something like “I was… now I can’t find him.”
Before either Tarzan or Jane could say anything, there was a cackling from the window. When they all turned in that direction, they spotted an unfamiliar baboon standing there.
“You won’t find him here! The King has returned.”
The lioness, Nala, beamed in glee. “I can’t believe it… he’s gone back!”
“Back?” Tarzan frowned, “Back where?”
The door to their room slammed open and Terk rolled in, “Did anyone else see that baboon? What was with the face and- “ She stopped in her tracks at the sight of Nala. “What’s going on?”
“Simba’s gone back to challenge Scar!”
“Whose got a scar?”
“No, no, no. It’s his uncle.”
“The monkey’s his uncle?”
“No! Simba’s gone back to challenge his Uncle, to take his place as king?” Nala then told them the whole story.
However, even when the situation was explained to her, Terk frowned, “I still don’t get it.”
“It’s just like the baboon said…” Nala patiently explained, “… the king has returned.”
“…. Do you want me to go over it again?”
“Yes please.” Terk nodded, “But skip to the part about adult Simba… not that your childhood wasn’t fascinating.” She turned to Tarzan, “You have to let me tell Tantor about the elephant graveyard.”
Before Tarzan could say anything, Nala piped up again.
“Look, Simba’s the rightful king, but after he disappeared Scar proclaimed himself as the new king and formed an alliance with the hyenas and…”
As Nala continued, Tarzan found himself sympathising with Simba… It was hard enough to deal with Kerchak’s death as an adult, he couldn’t imagine dealing with the death of a father as a child, trusting his uncle to run the kingdom, only to find that the older male had run it into the ground.
It was a horrifying thought.
“… So Simba has to go back, to challenge his uncle and reclaim his rightful position of King!” Nala finished, “Simba needs us!”
Tarzan and Terk glanced at one another, before nodding at each other. Terk headed out of the window, calling out for Tantor whilst Tarzan turned to Jane.
“Do you think you can help my Mother with the others?” he asked her gently, “I need to help Simba.”
“I know.” Jane whispered, “He’s your brother.”
Chapter 8: Return to Pride Rock
Simba felt his heart sink as he walked over the dusty ground, taking in the various skeletons that were littered all across the ground.
He had been travelling for so long and he’d been hoping to see the green grass of his home, maybe the waterhole?
But there was nothing.
Trees were dead, noting grew on the ground and there was not a living creature in sight. Everything that had once made Pride Rock a stunning sight, was dead and decomposing.
Simba turned around, to see Nala, Tarzan, Terk and Tantor rushing up to him.
“Awful, isn’t it?” Nala whispered.
“I didn’t want to believe you.”
“Why did you decide to come back?”
“I finally got some sense knocked into me… and I’ve got the bump to prove it.”
“And this is your kingdom.” Tarzan interrupted, moving closer to the pair of lions as he glanced around.
Simba nodded in agreement, “Right… and if I don’t fight for it, then who will.”
There was a brief moment of silence, before Nala cautiously spoke up. “I will.”
“It’ll be dangerous.”
“Danger, ha! I laugh in the face of danger! Hahahaha!”
“Hey, there’s nothing funny about this!” Terk protested, “Simba, are you really sure you want this place?”
“It’s his home Terk.”
Simba and Tarzan spun around at the familiar face, eyes widening at the sight of Kala and Jane making their way over to the group as Kala continued.
“Home is important.”
“Mother.” Tarzan shook his head, “What are you doing here?”
“You really thought I was just going to let my sons do this alone.”
Simba couldn’t stop the pleased smile on his face at this statement, despite the guilty pang in his chest at the thought that his real mum was not so fair away.
“Talk about your fixer upper.” Terk sighed, before straightening up, “Well, if it’s important to you, then we’re with you to the end.”
Slowly, the group snuck closer to Pride Rock, hiding behind boulders when they came across a large group of sleeping hyenas.
“Ummm, what are they?” Terk whispered, “And are they friendly?”
Simba was tempted to lie to her, “Not… exactly. They’re like… lazy leopards. Just as vicious, but they prefer to scavenge unless absolutely necessary.”
“Great…. So what’s you plan for getting past them.”
Simba and Tarzan glanced at each, a sly smirk flashing across their faces, before Simba turned to answer. “Live bait.”
“Good ide- HEY!”
“Come on Terk.” Tarzan smirked, “You’ve done it before.”
“Not willingly! And I don’t think one of Janes’ dress is going to work this time.”
“And I didn’t bring a spare.” Jane piped up, smirking as Terk made a gesture at here, almost saying ‘see!’.
“Fine, fine, fine!” Terk grumbled, “Come on Tantor.”
Needless to say, Tantor needed a bit of encouragement (a firm hand pulling him by the trunk seemed to do the trick).
As Terk and Tantor distracted the hyenas (where she found a hulu skirt, Jane will never know), the others crept closer to Pride Rock.
“Nala…” Simba whispered, “…. Take Jane and M- Kala to round up the lionesses. Me and Tarzan will go and find Scar.”
Kala looked hurt for a moment but nodded along with the other two and headed in one direction with Nala. Simba and Tarzan then used the boulders as cover.
Simba gasped at the bellow, peeking his head around the side as a regal looking lioness made her way past slobbering, snarling hyenas.
“Simba, who is that?” Tarzan asked in concern.
“…. My Mother.”
Tarzan couldn’t find the words, feeling like they were getting caught in his throat.
“Yes Scar?” They heard the lioness ask, sounding completely fed up with the situation.
“Where is your hunting party? They’re not doing their job!”
“Scar, there is no food. The herds have moved on.”
“No! You’re just not looking hard enough!”
“It’s over. There is nothing left.” Sarabi sighed wearily, “We have one choice…. We must leave Pride Rock.”
“We’re not going anywhere!”
“Then you have sentenced us to death!”
“So. Be. It!”
Sarabi seemed stunned by this, “You can’t do this!”
“I’m the King, I can do whatever I want!”
“If you were half the King Mufasa was- “
“- I AM TEN TIMES THE KING MUFASA WAS!” Scar snarled in anger, spinning around and backhanding Sarabi across the face, sending her flying to the ground.
Less than a second later, Simba was roaring out his fury, causing Scar to scramble back in alarm, as the lion rushed down to his Mother. Tarzan decided to remain hidden, knowing that a sneak attack might be needed.
“Mufasa…” Scar practically whimpered, “… no, it can’t be. You’re dead!”
Simba ignored him, making his way over to his mother and nudging at her, trying to block out the memories of doing the exact same thing to his Father all those years ago.
“Mufasa?” His mother stared up at him in confusion.
“No… It’s me.”
There was a brief moment, where his mother clearly didn’t know who he was talking about. And then her eyes widened in surprise. “Simba? Y-You’re alive? But how can that be?”
“It doesn’t matter. I’m here now.” He leaned down and nuzzled at her, purring soothingly.
“Simba?” Scar tone changed, “Simba! What a surprise to see you… alive.”
In seconds, Simba felt the rage bubbling up and he found himself stalking forwards “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t rip you apart!”
“Simba, you must understand!” Scar backed himself into a corner, “The pressures of ruling a kingdom are- “
“- no longer yours.” Simba scowled down at him, “Step down Scar.”
Scar chuckled nervously, “I-I-I-I-I-I would, naturally! But there is one little problem… you see them?” He pointed upwards, where dozens and dozens of hyenas sat, all snarling and drooling, “They think I’m king!”
“Well we don’t.”
Everyone’s attention turned to lioness, where two strangers were helping Sarabi to her feet, Nala standing protectively in front of them.
“Simba is the rightful King.”
“The choice is yours Scar.” Simba growled, “Either stand down or fight.”
“Oh, must this all end in violence?” Scar slunk past the younger lion, “I’d hate to cause the death of a family member. Wouldn’t you agree Simba?”
“That’s not going to work Scar! I’ve put it behind me.”
Scar smirked, “Ah, but what about your faithful subjects, have they put it behind them?”
“Simba… what is he talking about?” Nala asked.
“Ah, so you haven’t told them your little secret? Well, now’s the chance to tell them… tell them just who is responsible for Mufasa’s death.”
Everyone stared at Simba, watching as he sighed wearily and took a step forward. “I am.”
Shakily, Sarabi moved closer to her son. “It’s not true…” she whispered, “… tell me it’s not true!”
“…. I’m sorry.”
“You see!” Scar cried out triumphantly, “He admits it! Murderer!”
“How dare you!”
Everyone turned to Kala, who was making her own way forwards, a ferocious scowl on her face as he she over to Scar.
“Simba was a child! A child when I found him half-starved in the jungle! I have held him through nightmares! He is not a murderer!”
“It was an accident!” Simba begged, “A horrible accident!”
“If it weren’t for you, Mufasa would still be alive!” Scar snarled, “It’s your fault he’s dead! Do you deny it.”
“No, but- “
“- Then you are guilty!”
“No, I’m not a murder!” Simba glanced between Kala and Sarabi, “Please you have to believe me!”
“Oh Simba, you’re in trouble once again!” Scar slowly started to force Simba to the edge of the precipice, with the hyenas surrounding the others, stopping them from trying to help, “But this time, Daddy isn’t here to save you, and now, we all know WHY!”
Yelping, Simba’s back feet slipped over the edge, leaving him clinging for his life as lightning cracked through the sky, the dry ground setting on fire.
From his hidden position, Tarzan tightened his grip on the spear, ready to throw it at a moments’ notice.
“Now this seems familiar…” Scar smirked, “… Where have I seen this before, let me have a think.” He ummed and aahed for a moment, “Ah, yes, I remember. This is just how your Father looked before he died!” He lunged forwards, claws digging into Simba’s paw, “And here’s my little secret…” he leant forwards to whisper, “… I. Killed. Mufasa.”
Chapter 9: The New King
“I. Killed. Mufasa.”
Simba’s eyes widened in shock, his mind instantly flashing back to that horrible day. The scream his father let out as he fell right into the path of the stampede, his own desperate scream of denial.
A scream that was replicated right at this moment.
“NOOOOOOOOO!” He managed to pull himself back up, slamming into his uncle and pinning him to the ground, “MURDERER!”
“Simba, please- “
“- Tell them the truth!” Simba growled, placing his front paw on Scar’s throat, causing him to splutter and cough.
“The truth? But the truth is in the eye of the behold- URGH!” Simba increased the pressure on his uncle’s throat, “Al-right, ALRIGHT…. I killed Mufasa.”
The volume was far too low for anyone else to hear him, prompting Simba to snarl in anger, “Louder!”
“I. Killed. Mufasa!”
From there, chaos broke out as the hyenas all lunged at Simba, biting and clawing at his back. Before Nala and Sarabi could intervene, Kala roared, charging forwards and pulling two of the hyena off of Simba, throwing them off Pride Rock as a spear took care of one that was inches away from biting out Simba’s throat.
“Kala!” Simba cried out in shock, as the lionesses all darted forwards, teeth at the ready as they snapped and pulled at the hyenas.
Form out of nowhere, Tantor came charging forwards, Terk on his back. If any hyena were unlucky enough to be caught underfoot, they found themselves with broken legs and other important bones.
The baboon used his stick to his advantage, and soon Simba found that he was able to break away from the main fight, eyes scanning the area for his wayward uncle.
Spotting Scar trying to slink away, back into the shadows, Simba growled and chased after him.
“Simba!” He heard Tarzan call out, “Simba!”
He ignored his brother. He needed to catch his uncle, the lion who had murdered his Father, someone he was trusted with his life. He chased the smaller lion up to the top of Pride Rock, leaping through flames until Scar had no-where else to go.
“Murderer.” He growled.
“Simba, Simba please!” Scar begged, “Have mercy on me, please!”
“You don’t deserve to live.”
“But Simba, I am… family! It’s the hyenas who are the real enemy” It was their fault! It was their idea!”
“Why should I believe you?” Simba stepped closer, “Everything you ever told me was a lie! I lived my life, believing that I was responsible for my Father’s death!”
“W-What are you going to do?! You wouldn’t kill your poor, old uncle!”
“No Scar… I’m not like you.”
Scar immediately sighed in relief, “Oh Simba, you truly are noble, I will find a way to make it up to you. What would you have me do, a-anything!”
Scar’s face dropped immediately.
“Run away, and never return.”
“Yes…. of course.” Adopting a submissive posture, Scar slunk past him, “Whatever you wish…. Your MAJESTY!”
Tarzan heard Simba’s roar of pain echo over the area, causing him to spin around in shock.
“SIMBA!” he called out, before Jane rushed over to him and pointed to the top of Pride Rock.
“Up there! He’s up there!”
Tarzan immediately moved to rush up there, only to stop and hesitate, turning back to Jane. Yes, most of the hyenas and ran off, tail between their legs, but there was always the risk that one could sneak back and attack Jane.
“Don’t look at me like that.” Jane rolled her eyes, “I can take care of myself, now go and help Simba!”
Giving her one last kiss for luck, Tarzan did as he was told, racing up towards the top of Pride Rock, coughing at the amount of smoke up there.
The sound of fighting could be heard up ahead, prompting Tarzan to move faster, jumping through the flames just as Simba’s uncle leapt on top of Simba, only to be sent flying over the edge by Simba kicking out at him.
Before Tarzan could ask if his brother was okay, Simba pushed himself to his feet and peered over the edge.
Curiosity prompted Tarzan to look over as well, just in time to see the hyenas tear into Scar, ripping him apart as he begged for mercy.
“Come on.” Tarzan tugged at Simba’s arm, “You don’t need to watch this.”
By the time they made it back down to the bottom of Pride Rock, it had started to rain, putting out the fires and carrying the horrific remains of animals down the stream.
The body of Scar had been dragged away, and the rain was washing all blood away.
“Simba.” Tarzan whispered, “Are you- “
“- I’m fine.” Simba stared straight ahead, “We need to check on the others.”
As they emerged from the mist, everyone was there to meet them. As Tarzan went over to Kala and Jane, pulling them both into a hug, Simba was greeted by the lionesses, all of whom brushed up against him, rubbing their heads against his.
Simba turned to Kala, but before he could say anything, something rattled behind them. When he turned around, the baboon waved him forwards, gesturing at the ledge.
“Simba…” Tarzan whispered, noticing how Simba hesitated “… You can do this.”
“I-I-I don’t know- “
“- Just… take a deep breath. It’ll come to you naturally.”
After receiving a reassuring nod from the others, Simba slowly made his way up to the ledge, pulling the baboon into a hug once he reached him. When they pulled away, the baboon gave him a proud smile. “It is time.”
Everyone’s breath caught in their throats as they watched Simba proudly make his up the ledge, over to the edge. Thunder rumbled above them, and Tarzan could almost swear that he heard Kerchak’s voice in it.
And then Simba roared.
Somehow, it changed everything.
Once all the celebrations had calmed down, Simba pulled himself away from the group of lionesses and rushed over to Kala and the others, rubbing against her, before scanning them all for any injuries.
They looked battle-worn, but then again, so did everyone else.
Leaning forwards, he pulled each of them into a hug, Kala’s hands gripping onto him for dear life.
This was the end, and she knew it.
“Simba?” A voice gently called out, startling him out of his thoughts and prompting him to turn around, seeing his Mother standing there. She had a sad smile on her face, mixed in with a bit of pride. “Simba.” She whispered again, her voice catching slightly before she cleared her throat, “Would you care to introduce us?”
“Kala is…” Simba hesitated for a moment, “… she’s my Mother. My second Mother.”
Kala’s breath hitched, as Sarabi’s eyes widened in shock, before they smoothed out and she smiled warmly at the female gorilla. “And I can see that she has done a magnificent job.”
Sarabi moved closer, before pulling Kala and Tarzan into a hug of her own. “Thank you.” She whispered, “Thank you for being his family.”
Cautiously, Kala returned the hug, “Your son is amazing.”
“Our son is amazing.”
Kala nodded tearfully, pulling away and turning to wipe her tears, “We’re… We’re glad he’s home with his real family.” She forced out, only to hear a stunned gasp from Simba.
“Kala… Mum, you and Tarzan and everyone back in the jungle are just as real a family as my birth family.”
Of course, this set Terk and Tantor off crying as well.
To anyone watching, this was probably a very bizarre sight.
Simba didn’t care though.
The next morning as the sun was rising high in the sky, Simba knew that it was time for Tarzan and the others to set off back home. Knowing that he couldn’t go with them, he vowed to speak to his family, at least one more time.
“I’m sorry I left without saying goodbye.” He whispered, as soon as he found Kala, Tarzan and Jane, who were all looking lost amongst the lionesses, “I-I didn’t know what else to do though.”
There was a brief moment of silence, before Kala slowly moved over to him and pulled him into a hug. When she pulled away, she placed her hands on his face, staring at him for a few moments, before smiling proudly.
“Look how much you’ve grown.” She whispered, turning to Tarzan, “Look how much you’ve both grown. I am… so proud of you both.”
Both Tarzan and Simba beamed with the praise, before the two brothers turned to one another.
“When we first met, did you honestly think it would end like this?” Tarzan asked, “Me taking over for Kerchak and You… becoming King.”
“… I never thought you’d take over for Kerchak.”
Tarzan chuckled, nudging his brother in the side, eyes darting over to where Nala and Sarabi watched and waited patiently, “You have your Queen now.” He whispered, “Do you think it would be alright if we came back and visited?”
“I can think of nothing better I would like to do.” Simba took a deep breath, “You’re going to be uncles, aunts and grandparents after all, right?”
Tarzan was stunned into silence, a pleased smile breaking out on his face.
“Good choice…” Terk suddenly spoke up from the side lines, “… he can’t do a worse job than your uncle.”
As Kala scolded the young gorilla, Simba couldn’t help but chuckle slightly.
It wasn’t as if Terk was lying after all.
A little over four years later, the two families had come together once more.
Kala had only just managed to make the journey, spending as much time as she could with Simba, as she knew it would likely be the last time, she would see her son unless he travelled to her. Sarabi was feeling the weight of the years as well, lying back and letting the children play all around her.
Kopa and Kiara pounced playfully on their cousin, young Penny, as she giggled and batted them away, toddling away as quickly as she could before they pounced again, as their parents watched on with pride.
This was their family, and they wouldn’t change a thing about it.