It was almost dark by the time Bambi returned to the Baobab tree. "Ah, there you are," said Rafiki.
"About time," grunted Timon, "You wouldn't believe this guy. Going on and on about psychobabble."
"It is called philosophy," retorted Rafiki defensively, "You could learn a thing or two from Pumbaa. You do not hear him complaining."
Pumbaa just stood there, staring into nothing with his mouth agape. "I think you broke him," said Timon.
Immediately, Rafiki whacked Pumbaa on the head with his staff. "Huh, wha?"
The baboon turned his attention to Bambi. "Give me the water," he said.
Bambi put down the coconut. "And hello to you too," he said half sarcastically.
"Hello," said Pumbaa, oblivious.
"Yeah, hi, now go on. 'Wow' us with your energy." Timon was impatient.
"Hey, watch it," muttered Bambi and almost instinctively, he unsheathed his claws. Timon noticed and jumped slightly. Bambi realized what happened and quickly apologized. "That's never happened before," he said, mostly to himself.
After making sure that some water would be left untouched, Rafiki put various herbs and juices into it. After a few moments, he waved his staff above it. He looked thoughtful.
"Well," came a collective response.
Rafiki looked blank. "It is just water," he said simply.
"You mean all of this was just for water?!" No one was shocked that the response came from
Timon. "How's that supposed to help us get Simba back?!"
"Easy there," said Pumbaa.
"Easy?!" Timon spat, "Didn't I say it was a mistake to listen to this guy?" He turned his attention to Rafiki. "You're nothing but a...!" Pumbaa quickly covered his mouth. Timon continued to rant. At last his mouth was uncovered. "As far as I'm concerned you take that...!" And then was quickly covered again. At last, Timon stopped and Pumbaa uncovered his mouth once more.
"Are you finished?" asked Rafiki. Timon nodded. "I understand your anger," the baboon continued, "I might still be able to do something with this. Just have a little faith."
Timon was still upset. "A little faith is all you have left," he said pointedly and went to retire for the evening. Pumbaa, without a word, followed him.
Rafiki immediately got back to work, leaving Bambi isolated. That was fine by him, he had plenty on his mind to keep him occupied.
Simba stood at the gateway. "Okay. I'm going to do this." He was anxious to get it over with, yet he wasn't moving. "Its just a quick visit. A quick visit can't hurt." His legs just wouldn't move. "Just... come on!"
Using all of his will power, he slowly lifted his leg and took a single step into the oasis. Nothing happened.
Simba felt better and took a much more confident step forward. But as he did, an image of himself flashed in his mind. He recoiled in shock.
"What?" He brushed it off as nothing and took another step forward. "Right, this is good," he said, trying to convince himself.
Another image flashed in his head. This time it was a group of lions. "Nothing to worry about." His steps became shaky.
Both images flashed. "I don't need to see anyone." He struggled to keep a straight face.
The images combined. "And even if I did..." He froze just past the gateway. His anxiety took over completely and he turned and fled back into the forest. He couldn't do it.
As he ran, the wind whistled around him. "Shut up," he muttered, "Just shut up."
Nala, meanwhile was still full of excitement. She returned to the den with a big grin on her face. Scar was there, waiting for her.
"Well, what's gotten you in such a good mood?" he asked.
"Oh nothing particular," replied Nala, keeping it cool, "It was just a good day, that's all."
"Really? Tell me about it."
"There's not much to tell. I guess there weren't a lot of things that went wrong."
"I see. Did you see anyone interesting?"
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe an exiled protege?"
Nala's pupils shrank but she held her ground. "I... No."
Scar stood firm and domineering. "Listen to me," he said, "I know you're lying. I know you were with him and what you were talking about."
Nala looked anxious.
"But you needn't worry," Scar continued, circling her, "You didn't really do anything wrong. I can certainly look the other way." He paused. "If you do something for me."
"What...?" asked Nala slowly.
"You will go with your little friend tomorrow and find Simba... and you will report back. Everything you see, everything you learn, you will report to me."
"Why would I?" Nala tried hard to hide her suspicion.
"Can't an uncle be concerned for his nephew?" he asked sweetly.
Nala snorted. She didn't buy it for a second.
"Fine, don't do it," said Scar, "but remember..." He held up his paw... and unsheathed his claws. "I don't take kindly to defiance."
Nala winced, "Fine..." she muttered.
Nala looked Scar in the eye, "Yes sir."
Scar smiled wickedly. "Good. You're dismissed." And he left her to herself.
Nala refused to enter the den. She stared out into the open and sighed heavily, shaking her head.
When writing the original "Exchange", I tried to keep it in Simba and Bambi's perspectives. I knew I wouldn't have been able to do that here otherwise some things would come out of no where. You'll see what I mean in a few parts. ;)
As always, please leave a comment with your thoughts and feedback.
The initial idea was by Sirzi (https://www.deviantart.com/sirzi)
The characters are owned by Disney