We are One

Little Kiara sat on the rock. She was thinking about her conversation with her father minutes earlier and the song that they just performed. We are one. We are one. She liked that. She liked that whatever problems she had that her dad will help her through it. But the female cub still had one question in her head.

Why couldn't she play with Kovu? What was so wrong that they were forced to be apart? They were just playing. Kovu had just gotten the idea of tag, she was sure of it. She never saw her dad so stern and so mad.

And Kovu's mom too. What was up with her? It's like she and her dad had met before and didn't approve of each other for some reason that she didn't understand. If that was true, what has Kovu playing an innocent game of tag with her, have anything to do with it?

Her dad said that she'll understand who she is someday. Understand what? Who she is? Isn't she Kiara? Princess of the Pridelands and in the future, much to her dismay, queen? She hoped her father was right and she did understand when she's older, because right now, she was completely confused. It's too much for a young lioness like herself to bear!

"Kiara." The lion cub looked up at the clouds to see her grandfather, Mufasa looking down on her. She was impressed. Her dad said that her grandfather was looking down on her and her family.

"Whoa!" She observed out loud. "Are you my grandfather?" Mufasa nodded.

"I am."

"Dad said that you were up there in the clouds, but I never saw or talked to you before."

"But, I've seen you, Kiara. I seen you, your mother, your dad and all of the animals of the pridelands." Kiara frowned.

"Oh, then you saw me disobeying my dad?"

"Believe it or not, Kiara. My son, your dad, was a lot like you when he was about your age. His curiosity also led him into trouble."

"Really?"

"Yes, really." He saw that his granddaughter was sad again. "Something troubling you?"

"It's just that I made a friend, Kovu and I really started to like him, not in the romantic sense, cause that'll be just plain gross. My dad and his mom seem to hate each other. I don't know if I'll ever see him again. What do you think, Grandpa?"

"I think if you really liked this cub and he likes you and you two want to continue to be friends, there's no stopping you two."

"But what about my dad?"

"Your dad will learn to like him all in good time."

"Yeah, but like when?"

"All in good time."

"You just repeated yourself. That's not fair. What do you mean by 'all in good time?'"

"Have patience, Kiara, I know my son. He may not be fair now, but he'll learn his ways, Have faith that he will one day." He then disappeared in the clouds.

"Grandpa? Grandpa, wait, I have more questions! Grandpa!" She sighed when she knew that he wasn't coming back. "Oh great, now I'm more lost then ever. Thanks, Grandpa."

She then heard a faint crying in the distance. She stood up on all fours and scanned the entire area.

"Hello?" She called. "Little faint crying voice! What's wrong? Why are you crying?" But she wasn't answered. She still heard the crying so she decided to investigate. She jumped off the platform that she was on and searched on flat ground. She went closer and closer to the crying.

Finally she peeked through the tall glass and saw who it was. It was a little albino Dik-Dik.

"Excuse me?" She asked. "Why are you crying?" The young Dik-Dik looked at her. She sniffed before she answered, tears still rolling down her face.

"I'm crying because no one wants to play with me."

"Why does no one wants to play with you?"

"Because of me being different. I'm not like the others. I'm white, they're not." Kiara has never felt more confused in her life.

"What has that got to do with it?"

"I don't know. All I know it hurts that I got rejected like that. So what if I'm different from them? I can't help it. That's how I was born. 'Unique', my mom says. I got rejected in the past but the reason why I was cuts deep. I never felt that much hurt in my entire life. I'm not up to anything and won't hurt any animal. I just want to play." She cried and cried. Kiara sighed and sat on her rump.

"I hear you." She said. "I just made a friend and was taken away from him." The Dik-Dik stopped crying and looked at her.

"You were? Why?"

"I don't know."

"Was it because he was different then you?"

"He didn't act different. His fur was darker than mine."

"Maybe that's why." Kiara was a bit disgusted by this.

"No way." But then she thought about it. "Maybe. But his mother's fur isn't dark. It's light. Why all of the fuss then?"

"Same as why I can't play with the other Dik-Dik's. I don't know why."

"Well, that's stupid. That has nothing to do with it. They should like you for who you are. Like you said before, you were born with it. You can't help it."

"I tried telling them that and they still refused to play with me for some reason."

"Well, they're wrong. I think you'll make a great playmate."

"Really?"

"Yeah, you seem nice."

"Gosh, no one but my parents ever said that about me before.

"Well they should. I'll play with you if you'd like." The Dik-Dik looked even more shocked.

"Really? You really want to play with me?" Kiara nodded.

"I do."

"Thank you. I'm Malumm by the way."

"I'm Kiara."

"What do you want to play?" Kiara began to think, then came out with an idea.

"How about tag? Wait, you do know about tag, right?" The Dik-Dik laughed.

"Of course I know how to play tag. Who doesn't know how to play tag?" Kiara sighed with relief.

"That's good to know." She then gave the Dik-Dik a mischievous grin and tagged her with her paw. "Tag, you're it!" The Dik-Dik stood up and ran after Kiara. Kiara ran away.

The two animals ran and tagged each other, laughing and giggling on the way.

Malumm and Kiara passed by some other little Dik-Diks. Malumm stopped playing as she noticed them. Kiara looked at them.

"Do you know them?" She asked. She then figured it out. "Wait, they weren't the ones who refused to let you play, were they?" Malumm nodded.

"Uh-huh. They were the ones. But it's fine now because I'm playing with you."

"Just you wait. I got your back." She went over to them. Malumm began to panic.

"Wait, no, Kiara, don't do it!" But it was to late for the tiny lioness confronted them.

"Hey, you two!" She shouted. They both looked at her.

"What do you want?" One of the Dik-Diks asked.

"I understand you refused to let my friend play with you. I'm here to tell you that you guys are missing out because Malumm's an awesome playmate."

"What are you talk…" He then saw Malumm. "Oh, you mean the freak." This repulsed Kiara.

"She's not a freak. She's like you and me."

"But look at her. She's a freak. She's different then us."

"But she plays the same. She still has feelings. She's nice."

"But…" Kiara grew serous and got right into the Dik Dik's face.

"Look, just because she looks different on the outside, does not give you the right to judge. How would you like it if someone judged you because of your looks?"

"I'll be sad I guess."

"Then imagine how Malumm felt when you refused to let her play." The Dik-Dik looked at Malumm and sighed.

"I'm sorry, Malumm. The truth is we did want to play with you, but my parents said no."

"Mine did too." The other Dik-Dik admitted, "But maybe they were wrong when they said it." The first Dik-Dik looked at his friend.

"How can you say that, Kuelewa?" He asked. "They're adults. They can't be wrong. They lived longer then us. They know better."

"Well, maybe they don't know better all of the time, Hakimu. We make mistakes, why can't they?"

"They're our par…" Kuelewa sighed.

"I know that they're our parents and they lived like a thousand years ago, but they're not perfect. My grandma says that."

"But they…" Hakimu sighed. "You're right. I shouldn't judge and my parents shouldn't either." He looked at Malumm. "I'm sorry we were mean to you Malumm. Do you forgive us?" Malumm smiled.

"I do." She replied. "Now that you know the error of your ways."

"It's just that I never realized that adults, especially our parents, can be wrong on such things."

"They're only animals." Malumm pointed out. "It's not like they grow out of it. Knowing that we can be wrong from time to time will live with us forever."

"Yeah, you're right. Still, why did our parents not want us to play with you?"

"I don't know. That's the mystery."

"So, do you want to play with us right now?" He looked at Kiara. "You can play with us too if you want."

"I'd be happy to if Malumm wants to. We were playing tag. What were you two playing."

"Hide and Seek." Kiara had an idea.

"Well, why don't we just combine them? The one that's 'it' has to find all of the others."

"That sounds fun. I'm in!" He looked at his friend. "Kuelewa?" Kulewa bucked like a horse.

"Let's do it!"

And so that is what the young animals all did. They played and had fun together, never minding about their differences, because to them, they were all the same.

Later, Kiara introduced her new Dik-Dik friends to her other friends, Zuri and Tiifu. The six animals all become the best of friends and all played together.

Kovu awoke the next morning. His mother said today was the start of his training, but honestly, he didn't really feel like it. The little dark lion cub began to think. Why were they banished from the Pridelands? His mom told him that Simba didn't get along with Scar and killed him. But there must be a reason. Brothers just don't kill their brothers for no reason, right? Was Simba the bad guy? He couldn't be if he raised a great daughter such as Kiara, could it? It was all so confusing to the cub. He just wanted to see Kiara, He felt like he was being punished for something he didn't do. It just wasn't fair.

He knew he shouldn't have wondered off on his own, but he wanted to prove to his mother that he could be fearless. He wanted to be independent. He wanted to be strong. And he felt like he couldn't be all three of those things if he was being babysat all of the time, So while his elder brother was being distracted, he went off on his own. He knew now that it was stupid, but at the same time, if he hadn't done it, he wouldn't have met Kiara. So it wasn't all bad, right? Why couldn't his mother see that him and Kiara were just having fun and that Kiara meant no harm? All of these questions he had and he didn't know if he'll get any answers.

"Kovu." His sister, Vitani said as she came to him. "I see that you are up. Are you ready for some intense training?" Kovu looked at her and shook his head. Vitani was shocked by this. "What?! But you have to. Mom's orders. She's going to be mad at you for not wanting to train. You don't want to disappoint her, do you?"

"No." Her brother replied. "It's just that I don't see why we have to fight."

"To survive; duh!"

"No, I know that, but why the Pridelanders? Why does Mom hate them?"

"Because Simba killed Scar and he banished us to the Outlands."

"Yeah, but why? Why so much hatred towards us about it? What did we do?"

"We did nothing. We weren't born yet."

"Exactly, then why punish us?" Vitani got impatient about this.

"I don't know, Kovu, okay?! All I know is that we were banished, our whole clan. And there's nothing we can do about it. So stop complaining and you will get ready for training whether you want to or not."

"Oh." He then sighed. "It's just that I met Kiara. She was nice and…" Vitani gave him a knowing look. Kovu noticed this. "What?"

"You like her, don't you?"

"Yeah, she was my friend like I said and I…" He realized what she meant. "No, no, it's not like that. I like her as a friend, Vitani. Don't be ridiculous." Vitani scoffed.

"Then why don't you tell Mom what you think?"

"Yeah? Don't think I won't." Vitani saw who was coming and smiled. She looked back at her brother.

"Here's your chance." This confused Kovu.

"Huh?" He then saw Nuka and his mom.

"Uh, morning, Mom!"

"Yeah, morning, Mom!" Nuka was offended by this.

"No 'morning, Nuka?'" Nuka asked. "I don't believe this! I'm the eldest brother yet I don't get any of the respect that I deserve." He looked at Zira. "Mother, can you believe your children right now? Is there no shame? Are you just going to stand there and let this happen? I think it's time to teach these little ungrate brats tha…."

"Hush, Nuka!" Zira said to her eldest son. "That's quite enough of that." Nuka looked insulted by this.

"Hmmph! I would be more respected if I were king." He muttered to himself. Zira looked at her cubs.

"Good morning, children!" She looked at Kovu.

"Mom, Kovu has something to say regarding to training." Vitani blurted out. This intrigued Zira.

"Oh, really?" The grown lioness looked at her youngest son. "And what do you have to say on the matter, son?"

"I...uh…" Kovu began. But the truth was, after yesterday, the cub was scared of his mom and couldn't get the words to come out. "I...uh…" Zira was getting impatient.

"Spit it out, boy! We don't have all day. If you're going to be a professional killer, we need to start your training pronto!"

"I...uh…" Kovu cleared his throat and grew determined. "Mom, I don't want to do this." Zira was shocked at what she was hearing from her young son. "It's wrong. Just because we have connections to Scar doesn't mean we have to follow in his pawprints. I'm my own lion and I choose to live the way that I want past is past and I chose to move forward and you should all do the same before it's too late." Zira was now mad.

"How DARE you defy your mother and your background like that you ungrateful little child!" Kovu gulped in fright as Zira was about to strike him with her paw. He should have seen this coming.

That was all in his head. It didn't happen and Kovu was very glad of that. However, he was still scared of how his mother would react if he told her about what he felt. He sighed.

"I'm really happy to start training, Mom." He told her. "I want to be a killer! Teach me everything that you know." Vitani was a little shocked by this. Zira gave out a wicked grin.

"And I'm more then happy to teach you." She said. "Come, Kovu. Time to say goodbye to your innocence and say hello to the real world." Kovu followed his mother, but not before noticing Vitani giving him a 'I knew you couldn't do it' look.

Kovu wanted so bad to take back what he said, but he feared that it was too late. He wanted what he just said to be in his head too, but had to face reality. He felt like a darkness was growing inside of him. He didn't want this, but felt like he had no choice and didn't dare to complain any further. This was his future and he saw no signs of escaping it. He just resumed following his mom, ready to begin his training.