The Key to my Heart

Golden rays of the morning light filtered their way through the sheer curtains that covered the opened windows of the master bedroom. Cheetara's bright ruby eyes slowly began to flutter open, her vision was fuzzy at first, but she continued to blink until she was able to see the white panes and familiar patterns of the decorated ceiling above her.

The queen of Thundera slowly began to turn over and lift herself into a sitting position. She could tell by the brightness of the light coming in that in was well into the later portion of the morning. Lion-O had must have gotten the baby in order to let me sleep in late, she thought to herself as a warm smile came to her face. She contemplated getting out of bed and heading down to get herself something to eat; but today was her "Special" day and knowing her husband as well as she did, she suspected that he had something planned for her.

It had been six years since Lion-O had defeated Mumm-Ra. After that they had returned to Thundera to rebuild the great Thundercat city. A year after that, Lion-O asked for her hand in marriage, to which she replied with a resounding "YES!". They were wed in a bonding ceremony that sealed their union as husband and wife not only in this life, but in the after-life as well. The ceremony was performed in the newly rebuilt chapel; along side their family and closest friends and in full view of a 'filled to capacity' crowd. Two years later, the Ancients blessed their lives with their first of two children, a beautiful baby girl, Leah Tarra.

Ever since the birth of their daughter, Lion-O has made it a point to set aside one day a year that was just for her, her "Special" day. It wasn't like her birthday or their anniversary; on these days their other family and friends were involved. On her "special" day, it was just her husband, her children and her, and he always did his best to spoil and pamper her.

Cheetara was brought from her musings by a soft knock on her door. "Come Inn!" she called out in a sing-song voice. After a few seconds, the hardwood door began to swing open, and in ran the three year old Leah, carrying a small bag in each hand. Their daughter was a lovely cheetah girl, with spots that were not quite as dark as her mother's. Her mane was a rich hue of red that was just a shade lighter than Lion-O's, but her eyes were the same cerulean blue as her father's. Behind her entered Lion-O. He was carrying a tray in one hand, and their son in the other. Their son, Torrin Chet, was only eight months old; he was a handsome lion cub with a golden mane and Cheetara's crimson eyes. In addition, unlike his older sister, Torrin inherited his mother's butterfly-like facial markings.

"Good Morning Mama, we have a sur-frise for you!" the little girl exclaimed as she crawled up onto her mother's bed and plopped herself down next to Cheetara.

"You do, well what do you have?" she replied to her daughter while giving her husband a wink as he came up to the side of the bed.

Lion-O placed the tray he was carrying on his wife's lap with a lopsided grin on his face. "Good morning, my queen." He said as he leaned down to give her a kiss. After a few moments she released her husband's lips, "Mmmmn…good morning my king. What have you three been up to?"

"Just getting a few things ready for your 'Special' day" he supplied with a mischievous smirk on his lips. He adjusted the sleeping form of their son onto his shoulder and began to gently rub his back. Cheetara looked down to the tray in her lap to see that she was being served breakfast in bed.

Her breakfast consisted of all of favorite morning foods; she had a variety of fruit which consisted of berries and mangoes, pineapple and purple grapes (her absolute favorite). In addition to the fruit, she also had a small stack of flat-cakes with butter and powdered sugar. A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice completed her morning menu. Along with her food, there was a small pot of her favorite flowers, yellow Tulips.

"Look what we have for you" Leah declared, holding up the bags that she had in her hands.

"What is it my sweet girl?" Cheetara asked as she reached for the first bag. After taking the bag from her daughter, she opened it and glanced inside. She reached into the bag and pulled out a small box and a homemade card. The card was made from colored construction paper and had little hearts cut out and pasted to various places on the card. It was folded in half, and when she opened it, she recognized the flowing script of her husband. She looked at him cocking a questioning eyebrow. "Leah told me what she wanted it to say, I just did the writing." Came his easy reply. Turning her attention back towards the card, she began to read it out loud.

To the Bestest Momma in the whole-wide world! We hope you like your "Special" day.

Love Leah and Torrin.

There, alongside the short note, were two hand-prints. One larger, that had to come from their daughter, and the other one so small that it could only be Torrin's. Moisture began to fill Cheetara's eyes as she looked back toward her children. "Thank-you honey." She whispered as she placed a loving kiss on the top of the young girl's head. Then Lion-O bent down allowing his wife to gently kiss the top of their son' head as well.

"Look what else we got you!" she said with a smile that reached all the way to her eyes. Cheetara then opened the little box that had accompanied the card. Inside the box, was a beautiful gold ring that held four small gemstones, two Sapphires and two Rubies. A small note was stuffed into the top of the box. She opened the note and began to read, as she did so, the tears that were only moments ago just beginning to build, were now flowing steadily down her cheeks. It read:

My Queen, the jeweler called this a "Mother's Ring" and it represents the love that we have for you. The ring is made from gold, which signifies purity. Its shape is that of a circle which means that, like our love, it is one eternal round, going on forever without end. The two sapphires represent the eyes of our daughter, whose love for you is as the oceans themselves. And the rubies represent the eyes of our son, whose love for you burns hotter than any pyre. When you wear this know, that we will always love you. Both now, and forever!

Once she had finished, she looked up to gaze upon her husband. His features were soft and his eyes were filled with the depth of his love. She took a moment and tried to swallow down the knot of emotions that were stuck there. "Thank-you, Lion-O. You three mean so much to me. I don't know what I would do without you in my life." She stated as she pulled her little girl onto her lap and hugged her tightly. Lion-O bent forward and gently kissed her on the lips. "You are quite welcome my love. We love you too." She pulled the ring from out of the box and slid it onto her finger, then used her hands to wipe away the tears from her face. She sat there admiring it for a while when Lion-O finally spoke up. "You have one more gift my love, why don't you open it."

She smiled at her husband with such adoration that his insides started to squirm. "I take it the next one is from you?" she asked. "Yes Ma'am" he replied, "I hope you like it just as much." She reached over and took the remaining bag from Leah, who offered it up to her with a huge grin. Then sliding off of her mother's lap, she watch as her mother opened her father's gift. When Cheetara opened this bag, she found that like the first one, it also had a small box and a card inside. After retrieving the items, she opened her card and began to read.

Cheetara,

It has been five wonderful years since you agreed to marry me. During that time you have made me the happiest man alive. You are my friend, my lover, my wife and my soul-mate. I can't even imagine my life without you in it. You complete me in a way I didn't know I was missing. You have supported me, uplifted me and inspired me. I am the man I am today because of your influence. You bring me calm when I am angered, you give me strength when I am weak, and your love is there to carry me when I am no longer capable of making it on my own. You have also blessed me with two adorable children, teaching me that my heart has no limit to the amount of love and joy that I can experience. So on your special day, I hope that you enjoy all that life can offer you and know that I love you with all that I am.

Eternally yours, Your Loving Husband. Lion-O

"Thank-you my love," she says, looking up to Lion-O, "The feeling is mutual. You have no idea how much I have needed your strength and support."

He acknowledged her statement with a nod of his head, not wanting to jostle their son awake. "Why don't you open your box now." He asked with a low tone.

She slowly lifted the lid on her box to reveal a lovely pure silver necklace with an unusual looking charm. The charm was also made of silver. It was about an inch and a half long and in the shape of a key. At the top of the key, where it connected to the necklace (and where you would normally hold onto it) was a heart shaped ruby about the size of her thumb. It was surrounded by small chips of diamonds and it shone with the reflected light beautifully. There was another note in the lid of this box as well. She quickly opened the note to read it.

My Darling,

This is just a simple token to show the world what I have known since the first day that I met you…That you have always and will forever… hold the key to my heart!

She again focused her attention onto her husband; the tears that had briefly stopped were again streaming down her cheeks.

"Thank-you," she said, opening her arms and beckoning him to come to her. As he leaned down into her warm embrace, she continued, "I love you so much, thank-you for making my special day so wonderful."

"You are welcome my dear," he answered, leaning in closer for a kiss. "I love you very much my queen."

"And I love you too my king" she replied before claiming his lips in a passionate kiss. Cheetara didn't know how long they stayed in that kiss, and she didn't care. She just marveled at the gentle strength and power of the love that they both shared…

A/N: This story was inspired by my own beautiful wife, Thank-you my dear; you are my strength and my heart. I am the man I am today only because of you.

Also, a special thanks to Butterfly17 for the assistance with coming up with the children's names :)