Disclaimer: I don't own the characters nor The Lion King. They are property of Disney.

"I can't believe it. He's gone back!"

Nala was ecstatic to realize her childhood best friend-turned-lover, Simba, has finally decided to return to the Pride Lands. That meant their argument wasn't all for nothing. However, Timon was confused and he proceeded to hop down from Pumbaa's belly on to the ground.

"Gone back? Whaddya mean?" he asked.

He turned to look back at Rafiki, the mandrill who had encouraged Simba to return, only to see he disappeared as quickly as he arrived.

"Hey, what's goin' on here!?" Timon asked incredulously. "Where's the monkey?!"

Nala simply smiled at the meerkat. "Simba's gone back to challenge Scar!" she declared.

"Who?" Timon asked.

"Scar!" Nala repeated.

"Who's got a scar?" Pumbaa asked.

"No, no. It's his uncle." Nala specified.

"The monkey's his uncle?" Now Timon was even more confused.

"NO! Simba's gone back to challenge his uncle and take his place as king," she explained.

"Oooh," the duo nodded, looking like they get it. However, a few seconds went by and it was clear that they didn't get it.

Nala rolled her eyes as she sighed. "You guys want me to go over this?"

"Yes please, but be a dear and skip to the part about Simba," Timon said. "Not that your childhood wasn't fascinating!"

"OK. Look, Simba's the rightful king, but after he disappeared, Scar proclaimed himself the king and formed an alliance with the hyenas..." Nala started.

Meanwhile in his mind, Pumbaa could only express worry and sympathy for his friend.

"Poor Simba," he thought dramatically. "The treachery, the villainy, the SHEER INDESCRIBABLE HORROR!"

Timon's thoughts, on the other hand, were a bit more different.

"Blah blah blah! WHY IS SHE TOYING WITH US? AAH! THIS CRAZY CHICK IS GONNA EAT US!" Apparently, he was still sore at the lioness after she almost attacked them the first time they met.

"So Simba has to go back to challenge his uncle and reclaim his place as king!" Nala finished explaining, hoping that knocked some sense into the duo.

Timon and Pumbaa could only blink their eyes blankly, clearly having been stuck in their thoughts that they didn't get a word she said. Seeing how they still didn't understand, Nala could only huff in frustration.

"Oooh… don't you get it?!" she raised her voice at them. "Simba NEEDS us! NOW!" Before she could run off, however, what Timon said next absolutely shocked her.

"He needs us?" Timon asked. "Then he shouldn't have LEFT us! If he wants to run off to be 'his highness', well I say 'Don't let the branches hit you on your way out!' Leave Hakuna Matata to someone who appreciates it!"

Nala was surprised. "Timon, how could say that?" she admonished the meerkat. "From what I've heard, Simba's been your friend for years! And you're just going to abandon him? At his time of need? Why?"

"Why? Because he deserves it!" Timon retorted. "THREE years of raising him, and THIS is how he repays us?! Hah! If he thinks he's too good for Hakuna Matata, so be it!" As he ranted, he climbed back up to the nest.

Pumbaa interjected. "But Timon, it's not really Hakuna Matata without Simba."

Timon whirled around. "What's gotten into you?" he asked stubbornly. "Not Hakuna Matata? That's crazy talk, CRAZY TALK I tell ya! Nothin's changed here! We had Hakuna Matata before Simba, and we've still got it now!"

Nala approached Timon. "But is it really worth it? Putting a silly philosophy above your friends?"

"She's right," Pumbaa agreed with the lioness. "We gotta go help our friend, Timon!"

"Et tu, Pumbaa?" Timon asked stupefied, "You're just gonna walk away? Give up on ALL this? Whatever happened to 'friends stick together to the end'? Huh, huh, huh?!" Timon turned around, arms crossed, scowling as he finished ranting. For the first time in his life, Pumbaa could only feel nothing but anger at the first animal to ever have called him a friend. He wasn't the only one hurt by Timon's words. Nala's blue eyes widened before narrowing at the meerkat, insulted by his selfishness.

"I was about to ask you the same thing," Pumbaa glared.

Timon's face faltered when he heard that before steeling himself as Pumbaa and Nala prepared to leave and help Simba. Turning around to glance at him, they saw Timon shrug himself off as he declared, "I got everything I want RIGHT here!" before settling himself down. Pumbaa and Nala watched as they saw Timon stubbornly refused to move while he lied comfortably against the edge of the nest. Pumbaa's eyes watered as he realized Timon wasn't coming.

Sensing the warthog's sadness, Nala could only exhale in sympathy as she laid her larger paw gently on Pumbaa's back to comfort him.

"Come on, Pumbaa," she said softly. "We have to go." Looking back at the meerkat in the nest, she could only frown at him for his stubbornness. "He's obviously not coming with us. And probably never will, even if it was his own friends."

Pumbaa sighed before nodding his head and ran along with Nala as they left the jungle, leaving Timon all alone. After they left, they didn't realize Timon heard Nala's words and started to look remorseful.

This little AU one-shot came when I thought about how Nala would react to Timon refusing to help Simba at first in The Lion King 1½. I hope everyone enjoys this short story of The Lion King!