Author's Note/Disclaimer: Finally I finished this story I've been meaning to work on for quite some time now. It started out as a drabble I wrote after listening to "West Side Story" and eventually became this piece. I hope you enjoy my attempt to continue a classic piece of animation that has inspired me and countless others ever so much.
I do not claim to own "Bambi." The original book was written by Felix Salton and the film (which this fanfiction is written after) was released by the Walt Disney Company in 1941.
"There's a place for us
Somewhere a place for us.
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us somewhere…"
"Papa look! Blossoms!" cried a little fawn before she bit into a tasty-looking blossom planted in the earth of the meadow. She was about to try another sweet morsel when the shadow of a great stag loomed over her.
"Now Gurri," the buck started, "–you remember what your mother and I told you about eating the blossoms, don't you?"
Gurri swallowed the last petal left in her mouth with a gulp. "Eating greens is never wrong. It makes hooves swift and antlers strong," she said, ashamed.
"Ha-ha!" chortled a male fawn as he leaped over to the other deer. "You had to recite the poem," he said to the other fawn.
"Quiet, Geno," Gurri said.
"Ha!" laughed Geno before he reared up on his hind legs playfully. Gurri did the same and the two fawns play-fought each other for dominance.
The stag chuckled before breaking them up with one of his antlers. "Settle down, children."
Geno had by then caught Gurri's ear in his mouth, but let go at his father's command.
"Yes, Papa," the twins said simultaneously before walking to his side.
The buck shook his head. "How does your mother put up with you two?" he asked more to himself than anyone else.
The three deer continued browsing for food through the meadow. The fawns roughhoused every now and then while the stag listened for any danger. The forest was quiet that day, but that was never a reason not to be cautious.
The crunch of leaves from the nearby brushes made the stag's ears twitch. He caught the shadow of a creature too tall to be a bear or fellow deer. He prepared to face the greatest enemy any animal could meet and stamped his front hooves on the ground.
"Geno! Gurri! Quick! To the forest!" the stag ordered.
The stag's children didn't miss a beat and bolted for the safety of the trees. Their father took up the rear, making sure that if man shot at them the fawns would not be harmed.
Geno and Gurri ducked down low underneath a large bush, looking out to the meadow intently. The stag joined them soon after, hiding as well as he could.
That was when they saw him. Man.
He emerged from the trees. He didn't seem to be carrying a gun with him, but the stag knew that he could be carrying a smaller weapon underneath his removable fur.
Man stopped presently. The deer watched, ever curious and fearful, as man plucked some wild flowers from the earth and grouped them together. What he planned to do with the flowers was any animal's guess, but he sung a tune in his strange tongue and continued on his way through the forest.
Once man was no longer a threat to the deer, the three of them finally stepped out of hiding.
"Did you see that, Papa?" Gurri asked, "Man just picked some flowers!"
"I thought men were meat-eaters," Geno said, confused.
"Sometimes they are," the stag answered. His eyes had widened, as if he had seen something he wished he hadn't.
"What's wrong, Papa?" Geno asked.
The stag shook his head. "Nothing. Let's continue on, away from man."
The fawns obeyed their clearly shaken father. After a while, they reached the deeper woods and browsed the leaves they could reach.
"I don't think Man is so bad," Gurri said.
"They're monsters, Gurri," Geno said. "All they do is kill, even when they're not hungry. We were just lucky."
"It can't be true," Gurri argued, "Not even foxes kill for no reason. All creatures hunt because they have to. Right Papa?"
The stag shut his eyes and looked away from the fawns. He couldn't bear to tell them of the deadly fire Man had caused or of their grandmother's death years ago.
"Humans are complex," he said at last. "Some attack us, some don't, but it's always better to be cautious." He shuddered. "I paid the price for not looking before I leaped."
The buck then showed his children the bullet scar on his flank. They had seen it before, but they both recoiled at the permanent, painful reminder of man's gun.
After a little more chatter about man, Geno and Gurri played again until the sun set beyond the great ring of trees over their heads. By then, it was time for the fawns to return to the thicket where their mother waited for their return. The deer shared a quiet walk back home until Gurri broke the silence with a question.
"Papa, will man and animals ever be able to play together?"
The stag was silent. It seemed that the day was bringing back more memories than he thought possible. He remembered asking his mother the same question when he was nearly the same age as his two fawns…
A little fawn cantered after his mother deep into the forest. They had been running away from a pack of humans that they had encountered while grazing. The fawn thought that they were docile enough; the young ones had even been playing in the fall leaves like animals did, but his mother insisted that they run.
"Mother, why did we have to run away from those man-cubs?" the fawn finally asked.
The graceful doe turned to her son. "Because they have a mother, and their mother might have a mate, and he might have a death stick."
The fawn frowned. "But the cubs were playing, just like Thumper, Flower, and me do. Why can't we play together?"
The doe's face turned quite stern. "They might seem friendly now, but one day they could become killers, Bambi."
Bambi remained quiet until he and his mother reached the thicket where they retired for the night. Nearly asleep he asked, "Mother?
"Yes?" the doe softly answered.
Bambi looked into his mother's eyes. "Will animals and Man ever play together?"
She smiled at her son. "I'm not sure, Bambi." She looked outside the thicket then, staring off at seemingly nothing. "–But I hope so."
"When?" Bambi asked.
Bambi's mother didn't look at him but she did answer his question. "Someday. Somewhere there's a place for us."
Bambi, the proud stag he now was, smiled at his memory. Even after all of the terrible things that had happened in the forest, he still wasn't completely sure whether Man was an evil race or if there were both kind and cruel men, but he still remembered his mother's words as if she had said them to him only yesterday.
Bambi turned to his curious children and answered, "Maybe someday. Somewhere there's a place for us."
"Hold my hand
And we're halfway there.
Hold my hand
And I'll take you there.
Somehow. Someday. Some way."
–West Side Story.