Bambi was trying to concentrate on getting the water to Rafiki but his mind was elsewhere. If this didn't work, he'd stay a lion and would still have Scar's task hanging over his head. Physically, he knew he could do it and he could do it quickly but it felt as if he'd be leaving everything from his old life behind. Was he ready for that? Scar's final words echoed "If I see you before that, you won't have to worry about surviving anymore." He had a deep suspicion of what that meant.
And then there's what Simba said, was it possible to hunt respectfully? Simba. This benefitted him too. Bambi quickly snapped back to reality and just in time. Another lion was lying in wait to strike and facing right at him. Quickly, he set down the coconut but had no time for anything else. The lion pounced and pinned him to the ground. Bambi shut his eyes and prepared for the worst.
"Pinned you!" said a playful voice. Bambi opened his eyes and saw a lioness, who looked to be about the same size as him, staring down at him.
"Hi, I'm Nala," she said.
"I'm Bambi," replied Bambi, still slightly stunned, "C-can you get off me, please?"
Nala did so and Bambi got to his feet. "Bambi," she pondered, "I know you. You're Scar's apprentice." There was a hint of vex in her voice.
"He mentioned me? I didn't think he knew my name." He wasn't paying attention to Nala so didn't notice that her focus shifted to the coconut he had been carrying. She was batting at it with her paw.
"He was never meant to be king, you know," she said as-matter-of-factly, "He only is because the previous king and the true heir..." She struggled to get her words out.
Bambi quickly realized what she was doing. "Hey!" he shouted and quickly dashed over to stop her. "I'm sorry but could please not do that. It's kind of important."
"Oh, what is it? Only the most precious water for your precious king?"
"No, not for that tyrant!" Nala was taken aback. "I can tell you don't like him. I don't really either. I never wanted to be an 'apprentice'. He was the first one I saw since... And I thought maybe I could..." He trailed off. "Anyway," he said, shifting topics, "I have no desire to see him anytime soon."
"I don't blame you," said Nala, her tone softening.
"Oh well. With any luck, I won't have to worry about it soon." He picked the coconut back up and turned to leave. Then he said under his breath, "And maybe help Simba too. Anyway," he added, "It was nice too..."
"Stop," interrupted Nala firmly. "What?"
"What did you just say?"
"I won't have to worry about it?" Bambi's voice muffled with the rope in his mouth.
"No not... Will you put that down?" Bambi did so. "No after that," insisted Nala. "Who were you talking about?"
"You mean Simba?"
"Young lion? Golden Ochre fur?"
"That's who I met," answered Bambi, choosing his words carefully.
"He's alive? All this Time?! I don't believe it! ImeanweallthoughthewasgoneThisisgreatWecankickthattyrantoutonceandforallandwecanhavefuntogtherlikeweusedto(maybewithoutthepartwherewealmostdied)butstillthisisgreatHe'salive..." Nala continued to gush. She was so happy that she completely forgot that Bambi was sitting right there, watching in bewilderment. At last, Nala snapped out of it. "Ahem, so you know him?" she asked.
"Yes..." he answered slowly, "I guess you do to?"
"We were best friends." There was an awkward silence. "So, where is he now?" asked Nala.
"He's... somewhere in the... oasis, I think its called?"
"Well, I know where it is."
Nala thought for a moment. "Can I trust you?"
"Uh, yes," replied Bambi, trying to sound sure.
"Do you think you could... take me to him?"
Bambi felt like he was put on the spot. Even if the gateway would appear, how could they find one deer in that whole forest? Would she even be convinced it was him? He was, however, sure about one thing; this lioness was sincere. "I can try," he promised.
Immediately, Nala's face brightened up. "Thank you!" she cried.
"You're welcome." Bambi suddenly remembered. "I still have something else to do right now. Is tomorrow alright?"
"Oh, sure, of course," said Nala, still giddy, "First thing in the morning."
"Sure." Bambi picked the coconut back up and turned to leave once again. "I'll see you then."
"Have a good night." With that, the two lions went their separate ways.
Nala didn't realize it but she might have just saved Bambi's life for Scar was lurking in the tall grass, unnoticed. He had tracked down his old protege, keen to hunt him down but talk of Simba intrigued him.
"That little brat is still alive?! I have got to find better help," he groaned. He quickly regained his composer. "Never mind. I've got more important things to deal with now." And he slunk away.
"...and that's pretty much it." Simba finished telling Faline his story. For a while, all she did was stare. "Faline?" Simba tapped her leg. "Fali-ne?"
"Sorry," she said, "but you have to admit, that is a lot to take in."
"You don't need to tell me. I lived it."
"So, what now?" asked Faline
"What are you going to do now?" she repeated.
Simba sighed. "I don't know. I think I'm doing at least okay, now."
"But don't you miss it? You're old life?"
His face fell. "If I did go back... Look at me."
"What? You look fine."
"Sure. Fine for a deer, though. Prey. That's all they'll see me as. I... I don't know if I can handle that." Tears filled his eyes. He looked away.
"I'm so sorry, Simba," said Faline sympathetically, "I only..."
"No. You didn't do anything. I'll be fine. Really."
There was a moment of silence before Faline finally said, "Well who said anything about seeing anybody? You could just go in, look around and come back. Simple."
"But, but..." Simba couldn't deny that Faline had a point.
"You have options. Just think about it, okay?"
Faline left him to organize his thoughts. Simba stared in the direction of the gateway.
A part of me kind of wishes that I established a connection between Bambi and Nala sooner. At the time, it wasn't really important if they did and I wasn't going to retcon it where they knew each other the whole time. Still, I'm satisfied with the way this turned out. Other than that, there's not much to say about this part.
As always, leave a comment letting me know what you think.
The initial idea was by Sirzi (https://www.deviantart.com/sirzi)
The characters are owned by Disney