AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a revision of "Tales of Meric - Falling in love." Though the same basic story line is followed, I've made a few changes.

 

LEGAL STUFF: And Now, the stuff that has to be written, but nobody really reads anyway: All TLK & TLK2 Characters are the property of Walt Disney Corp. Meric is my property, and is NOT to be used without permission. Comments, questions, and the like are welcome. Just send an e-mail to dales@quixnet.net Thank you

 

An Impossible Love

By: Dale Shattuck A.K.A. Lionsfan

 

 It was just before dawn in the Pride Lands, and a loud yawn that could be heard for miles echoed from Pride Rock. Meric, advisor to king Simba sauntered out of the den. He seldom missed a sunrise, especially since the day that he had become a member of Simba's pride. Sunrises had seemed so boring, but now, Meric had a new lease on life. He walked to the top of Pride Rock, thinking about all he had seen since coming to the Pride Lands. Meric and Simba had been good friends since the re-taking of Pride Rock from Scar, but now, there was more to it than that. There was a special bond between them. It was like they were, brothers.

 

It had already been a week since Simba's pride and the outsiders had reunited as one pride. "So much has happened in such a short time." Meric thought. He reached the peak of Pride Rock and sat on the edge, waiting for the show to begin. Slowly, the sun began to rise. At first, only a bit of red touched the horizon. Then, as Meric continued to watch, the sun painted the still-sleeping land with its glorious red, orange, and yellow hues. Soon, not a star could be seen in the sky, which had seemed to change colors along with the land.

 

Meric descended from the peak of Pride Rock. "Mornings don't get much better than this."  he thought. As Meric took his daily walk through the Pride Lands, he looked around. None of the other creatures were awake. Meric didn't mind. The silence gave him time to think, a rarity in this land. For a fleeting moment, he got the feeling that there was something missing, but he quickly shook it off. Meric had a home. He had a family. Years ago, Simba had helped him find his heart. What more could he ask for?

 

Meric stopped at the water hole for a drink. This was the most refreshing water he had tasted in all his years. Suddenly, he heard an easily recognizable roar coming from Pride Rock. Meric could tell that Simba was summoning someone. Since Meric was the only one who had left Pride Rock that morning, he assumed that it was he who was being called for.

He took off toward Pride Rock in a streak of white and gold.

 

Simba stood on the promontory as he called for his friend. He had an announcement to make, and he wanted the entire pride to be there, including Meric. Simba looked over the horizon, and suddenly he spotted Meric coming from the direction of the water hole. He was a long way off, but coming up fast.

 

Meric reached Pride Rock in what seemed like a matter of seconds. "What is it Simba?" he asked. "I have an important announcement to make." replied Simba, "The entire pride is involved, so do you think that I could leave my brother out?" Meric smiled. He knew that Simba considered him a brother, although neither said so very often. Zazu flew up. "The pride is assembled Sire." he said. "Good." replied Simba, "Lead the way Zazu." "Yes sire." said Zazu.

 

Simba and Meric followed Zazu until they came to a large tree, under which the entire pride sat. Timon and Pumbaa had also come to hear the announcement. Meric walked into the shade. How good it felt to be out of the sun. Once everyone was seated, Zazu called for quiet. "Now that everyone is here, we can begin." said Simba. All went silent. Even the wind refused to blow. "I can't see the future." said Simba, "But I do know that we must be prepared for anything, even the seemingly impossible." "What do you mean?" asked Meric. "There are unconfirmed rumors that Zira may have survived her fall." replied Simba, "If they are true, then Zira will undoubtedly be planning her next move against us." Meric nodded. He could see the future, but only a few hours ahead, and this was a sight that he rarely ever used. "What?!" exclaimed Timon, "That's impossible. Nobody can survive a fall like that, especially into a raging river." "Timon, the impossible happens every day." said Meric, "Simba is right. We need to be prepared for anything." "Okay." Timon replied sarcastically, "Whatever you say."

 

Meric gave a half growl. Timon dove behind Pumbaa's head in fear. Everyone laughed, even Pumbaa. They knew that Meric was just teasing the meerkat. "Ha Ha Ha." laughed Pumbaa, "He got ya' good that time Timon." Timon stood up. "Don't ever do that again!" pleaded Timon, "Carnivores! Oy!" "I hate to tell you Timon," replied Meric, keeping as straight a face as he could, "but that's a bit of a cliché now.” Again, the whole pride fell into fits of laughter. "Ok ok." said Simba, "Let's get back to business." The laughing stopped as once again everyone gave Simba their full attention. "Before we discuss these matters further, I have something to tell both Kovu and Vitani." Kovu and Vitani looked over at Simba, expectantly. "I know that I will never have a son." said Simba, casting a glance over at Nala, who nodded her head. This was something that she and Simba had talked about since Zira's disappearance "I also know that you two didn't have the same chance that Kiara and I had growing up, to have a father." continued Simba, "Nala and I would be honored if you would become our adopted children."

 

Tears formed in both Kovu and Vitani's eyes. "It would be an honor... Dad." replied Vitani. Kovu only nodded his head, but the tears in his eyes told the whole story. Simba went on to announce his plans. Nala and Vitani would teach Kiara to hunt and fight. Even Kiara had to agree that she needed the training. The rest of the pride would be on constant watch. Simba was hoping that all this was unnecessary.

 

After the meeting was over, Meric walked over to Simba. "It sounds like you have the future well thought out." he said. "I can only hope." replied Simba, "I need to start training Kovu as best I can. I'm not going to be around forever. Meric laughed. "If the stars were out I could give you your father's lecture." he said, "But even if the great kings of the past didn't look down on us from the stars, you would still be in the hearts and memories of this pride forever." Simba laughed. His friend had a point. After Simba left, Meric looked around, and again he got the feeling that there was something missing, but he shook it off and headed back to Pride Rock.

 

Simba began immediately. He and Kovu would often go off alone together, and Simba would teach him all he knew about being a good king. Meric thought Simba was over doing it a little. After all, in his opinion, Kovu had the best role-model possible, Simba.

He didn't mind so much though. While the rest of his family was away, Meric would spend time with the former outsiders. He loved listening to, and recording their stories, so intriguing. Of course, everyone that Meric met intrigued him in some way or another.

 

After a couple weeks, Kiara had learned all that Vitani could teach, so Vitani hung out with the other outsiders. Over the course of several weeks, Meric began to notice that she intrigued him more than anyone else that he had met. They had become good friends since the pride had reunited, but now, Meric felt strange just being around her. More and more often, he got the feeling that something was missing. When Vitani was around, Meric would begin to feel as though there was a rock sitting in the pit of his stomach. Sometimes he just had to get away, be alone. "Is there something wrong with me?” he would often think.

 

Finally, not being able to stand it any longer, Meric decided to walk to Rafiki's tree. If anyone could help, it would he Meric's old mentor. "Master Rafiki!" Meric called when he arrived. As usual, Rafiki leapt from his tree to speak with Meric. "Yes?" he said. "Master, I think there's something wrong with me." replied Meric, "I think I'm sick." "Oh really?" asked Rafiki, "What makes you think that?" Meric explained about what he had been feeling for the past few weeks. "So?" he asked, "Am I sick?" "I am afraid so." replied Rafiki with a smile, "I believe you have Upenditis." "U what?" asked Meric, giving a confused look. "Upenditis." answered Rafiki, his smile widening. "What is Upenditis?" asked Meric, "Is it fatal?" "Oh, no no no." chuckled Rafiki, "Upenditis simply means, love sickness." Meric groaned. Rafiki was always speaking in riddles. "I don't understand." said Meric, "Are you saying what I think you're saying?" Rafiki grinned and nodded his head. "Ahh..." he sighed, "Sweet upendi."

 

"But, how can that be?" asked Meric, "I'm at least ten years older than Vitani." "Technically yes," replied Rafiki, "but because you are a mystic, like me, you do not age as fast as the others. Biologically, you are just now coming in to your sixth year." "This is so new to me." said Meric, "I need some time to think. "I'll talk to you later Master Rafiki. "Goodbye Meric." replied Rafiki, and with that, he climbed back into his tree. Meric walked slowly back to Pride Rock. He needed to be on his own for a few days, and he knew that could never happen here.

 

Simba stood on the promontory, looking for Meric. He had not seen his brother all day. Finally he spotted Meric a long way off, and walking very slowly. Simba ran to greet him, but then he noticed Meric's sad face. "What's wrong Meric?" asked Simba. Meric looked up and smiled weakly. "Simba," he said, "I need to be on my own for a few days, so I'm heading to Timon and Pumbaa's old jungle home." "Why?" asked Simba. "I have allot to think about." replied Meric, "I'll be back by the end of the week. Just do me one favor." "Name it." said Simba. "Please don't tell anyone where I've gone." replied Meric, "Goodbye." "Goodbye Meric." said Simba, "Come back soon, and be safe." With that, Meric headed south, across the desert, and to Timon and Pumbaa's old home.

 

A few days passed and Vitani became very concerned, because Meric was nowhere to be seen. "I'll ask Dad." she thought, "He'll know where Meric is." She went to find Simba. She finally found him sitting on the top of Pride Rock. Zazu was there too, and they seemed to be having some sort of conversation. "Zazu, the first time he left, I thought he would never come back." said Simba, "What if he doesn't come back this time?" "Don't worry Simba." replied Zazu, "He will return. After all, you two are like brothers to each other." "I know." said Simba, "I wonder what he had on his mind anyway." "I think I know." replied Zazu, "After all, it's my job to know what is going on in these lands." "What is it Zazu?" asked Simba. "Oh... You'll find out soon enough Sire." replied Zazu. "Thanks Zazu." said Simba. "Don't mention it Sire." replied Zazu, and with that, he flew off.  Simba turned and looked over the desert to the south.

 

Vitani walked up to him. "Dad, can I ask you something?" asked Vitani. Simba looked at her and smiled. "Of course Vitani." he replied, "What's on your mind?" "I haven't seen Meric in a few days." Vitani explained, "I know how close you and he are. Did he tell you where he was going?" "Yes, he did." replied Simba, "He said he needed to be on his own for a while. Apparently, he's had allot on his mind lately." "Where did he go?" asked Vitani. "Vitani, we all miss him, but I promised him I wouldn't tell anyone." replied Simba, "I can't break that promise." "I think I understand." said Vitani, nodding sadly. She turned and looked to the south. "I miss you Meric." she said quietly, "Please come home soon."

 

Even after Simba headed in for the night, Vitani stayed on top of Pride Rock, thinking. She knew that she and Meric were good friends, but was it possible that their bond had become something more? Something stronger? She was so deep in thought, that she didn't even notice Rafiki walking up. "Well, Good evening Vitani." he said cheerfully, "Why the long face?" Vitani spun around. "OH! Rafiki! You scared me." she exclaimed. "Yes, I tend to have that effect on others." replied Rafiki, "Why aren't you in the den with the rest of the pride?" "I was just thinking about Meric." Vitani said, "I miss him terribly." "I see absence makes the heart grow fonder." replied Rafiki, "Don't worry. He'll be back soon." Vitani was about to reply, but before she could, Rafiki was gone.” “How does he do that?" she thought.

 

Another day passed. By now, even Timon and Pumbaa were getting worried about Meric. They decided to ask Simba where he was. They found him, sitting by the water hole, and looking at his reflection in the water. "Simba, Pumbaa and I need to ask you something." said Timon. Simba turned around. "Let me guess." he replied, "You want to know where Meric is?" "Well, uh.... Yeah." said Timon. "Aren't you the two who are always saying "Hakuna Matata?" No worries?" asked Simba "Simba, that's not our way of life any more." Timon replied, "We've realized that there are some things that are worth worrying about." "And this is one of them." added Pumbaa. "But how did you know what we wanted to ask." "Because this is the fourth time I've been asked." replied Simba, "First Vitani asked where he was, then Kiara and Kovu, then Nala, and now you guys." "Oh... sorry." said Pumbaa. "It's all right." replied Simba, "I know where he is, but I promised that I would not tell anyone, and I can't break that promise."

 

Another day passed, and Vitani would constantly watch for Meric from the top of Pride Rock, but still, she did not see him. Then, the next day, Vitani saw a shape crossing the desert from the south. "Could it be him?" she thought. She squinted her eyes, trying to make out the form in the distance. It was him! It had to be! Giddy as an over-grown cub, Vitani ran down the side of Pride Rock and toward the shape in the distance. She now understood her feelings.

 

Meric walked quickly across the desert, the shape of Pride Rock growing ever larger. He had been so confused just a week earlier, but he now understood what he felt, and he knew that his heart was right. His heart skipped several beats when he saw who was coming to greet him. Vitani! "Meric!" she called, "I've missed you so much!" "I've missed you too Vitani!" he called back. Vitani and Meric met just as he entered the southern boundary of the Pride Lands.


"Meric, I have something that I need to tell you." said Vitani. "I do too." replied Meric. It was then that they looked into each other's eyes, and each one knew what the other wanted to say. Vitani and Meric were silent for a moment, and a gentle breeze whirled around them. "I love you, Meric." Vitani said quietly. "I love you, Vitani." replied Meric in an equally soft voice. The two nuzzled affectionately, and then ran back to pride rock to share the wonderful news with the others, the news that each had found love.

 

Simba and the others rejoiced at Meric and Vitani's news. They were also happy because Meric was back, just as he had said he would be. "Meric, can you promise me something?" asked Simba. "What?" asked Meric. "Next time you leave, don't tell me where you're going, please." Simba replied. "All right Simba." said Meric, "I promise."

The impossible had indeed happened that day, and no one would ever fully understand, but then, isn't that what miracles are all about?

 

A few months later, two weddings were celebrated on the same day, the weddings of Kovu and Kiara, and Meric and Vitani. The gathered crowd cheered, and Timon and Pumbaa broke into tears as Rafiki blessed the new couples.

 

For a time, there was peace in the Pride Lands. However, a few months after that joyous day, tragedy struck. Simba and Nala had just stepped down as king and queen, and announced that Kovu was now king, and Kiara, his queen. A week later, Simba and Nala died. As his first official act, Kovu called all the animals of the Pride Lands together for a beautiful memorial. He then spoke. "We are gathered here today, in memory of a great king and a great queen, King Simba, and Queen Nala." he said, "Though they are no longer with us, their memories will live on. Let us first speak of Simba." Even the quietest of chattering stopped. All eyes focused on Kovu. "Simba was like a father to me." Kovu continued, "He was quiet, kind, understanding, and wise. I will miss you terribly, father." Kiara spoke next. "Growing up, I always thought that my Daddy was too strict," she said, a tear rolling down her cheek, "but now that I'm grown up, I can see that everything he did was out of his love for me. I just wish I could thank him now. Goodbye, Daddy."

 

Meric stood up. Making speeches had never been one of his strengths, but he forced himself to go on, and remembered that he had once been told to "Speak from the heart." "Many of you don't know me." Meric said, "I have been around since Simba's birth. I watched him grow, fought by his side, and I was even there to give him advice when it was needed, but it seems he advised me allot more." Meric paused, letting a tear roll down his muzzle. This was becoming very difficult. " Simba did more for me than he will ever know. Before I met him, I didn't care about anyone, or anything." Meric continued, "Simba taught me to feel, gave my heart back to me. He was, and will always be, my brother."

 

Vitani was the last to speak. "I didn't know Simba as long as the others whom you have heard speak. As a matter of fact, I grew up hating him," she said, "but after our pride reunited, he became like a father to me, and I could finally see how noble and wise he truly was. Goodbye, Dad."

 

Kovu stood up. "We will now speak of Nala." he said. He took a deep breath. "After Zira's death, I was devastated." he continued, "Sure she was evil, but she was still my mother, the only one I had ever known. Nala sensed how I felt, and became like a second mother to me. "Goodbye, Mother." Kiara now stepped up to speak. "My mother was the kindest, most beautiful lioness I ever knew." she said, "I knew that I could always talk to her about anything, and she would understand how I felt. Goodbye, Mom."

 

Meric stood up. "Okay." he thought, "Just speak from the heart." "Nala was indeed a very kind, very beautiful lioness." he said, "She was very quiet, and good at listening. She was a lioness of few words, but when she did speak, her words almost always carried with them a hidden wisdom. I will always think of her as a sister."

 

Vitani nuzzled Meric, and then spoke. "I grew up hating Nala as well, but when she and Simba took Kovu and I as their adopted children, I was thrilled." she said, "Before that, I never wanted to be a mother, because I was afraid that I would turn out exactly like Zira. Now, if I ever become a mother, I intend to follow Nala's example, and be just like her. Goodbye, Mother."

 

That was a sad day. Life in the Pride Lands went back to normal, but no one would ever forget Simba and Nala. Their stories would be passed from generation to generation, keeping the memories of the great king and queen alive.

 

Though there was peace for a time, there was one more threat that no one had detected, waiting for the chance to emerge from the shadows. Soon, the Pride Lands would be in danger, once again.

 

-THE END-