Title Under the Stars
Year 1998
Tagline "Natural bonds at its best."
Comment The characters Simba and Kiara are property of Disney

Under the Stars

       The giggle of a young cub is a gently sweeping feather that tickles the hearts of all who hear it. At Pride Rock, all shared in heartfelt inner laughter as Kiara bounded around in the waning light of day. Although the dance of shadows can often be gloomy, the young cub found it the most wonderful thing in her world. Why? Well, it's simple really. Tonight she was looking forward to spending time with her father in precious moments that she always cherished.
     Kiara uttered a squeal of joy and raced about Simba's legs, nuzzling as he came to pause at the end of the path. The Lion King smiled warmly, passing a paw over his loving daughter's back. Behind him, his mate cast a pleasant glance at the pair and a happy sigh. Simba looked over his shoulder and sent her a wink before leaning down low and licking his daughter.

     "Ready to go, Kiara?"

     "YEAH!" chortled the young cub, nearly jumping over herself. Simba chuckled heartily at his daughter's excitement and they both went off into the night together.

     "It's a bug!"
     "No, it's a bird..."
     "It's a BUG!"
     "It's a bird..."
     "It's a bug daddy!" Kiara giggled, "A big bug, can'tcha see??" Simba cast a glance at his daughter, speaking in a playful tone.

     "Well, I'm king and I say it's a bird." he grinned. Kiara played along eagerly,

     "Oh yeah? Well, I'm the future queen, and I say that it's a bug because it's got six legs. See 'em?" Simba looked upward once again with his daughter. Kiara lay comfortably on her back, perched on Simba's belly. From above, two sets of eyes gazed into the darkened sky. The deeper one uttered a low hmm, making the younger of the two smile in triumph.

     "Hmm," Simba mused, "You know something? You're right. That IS a bug..."

     "HA!" Kiara gloated, "Told'ja!"

     "Well..." Simba commented, "You've proved the king wrong again. And you know what happens when you prove the king wrong, don't you?" he finished with a playful lilt to his voice. Kiara squealed and tried to right herself but was quickly enclosed within the strong arms of her father.

     "No!" she giggled and struggled with her legs. Simba deftly rolled over and pinned the cub on her back with a paw. Playfully sticking his muzzle into her belly, he purred and nuzzled until Kiara was a veritable mess of laughter. "DAD-EEEEE!" she squealed and laughed. Smiling at her warmly, Simba returned to his back, leaving his daughter curled into a ball of giggling fur.

     "Cute." Simba chuckled softly to her. Still giggling, Kiara squirmed her way closer to her father's massive head and snuggled into his mane. The pair fell into silence once more, observing the gentle twinkling of the stars.

     "I love spending time with you, dad." Kiara said in a whisper, breaking the silence. Simba turned his muzzle to the side and licked her softly.

     "And I love spending time with you too, Kiara." he said in a loving tone.

     "Awww!" whispered the little cub, pawing at her father, "You don't have to get mushy on me."

     "And why not?" Simba grinned to her, "You're my little darling, doesn't a father have a right to get mushy? These times don't last forever you know..."

     "Yeah, but you'll always be here with me, won't you?" Simba's expression flickered as a momentary flood of memories rushed into his head. It was time.

     "Kiara, it's time that I passed on a little piece of knowledge that my father gave to me. Did you know that the stars are the great kings of the past?"

     "Whoa!" Kiara said aloud, turning over onto her belly. "REALLY??" she asked emphatically. Suddenly, she felt a little nervous and folded her ears down, snuggling closer to her father. "Are they watching us right now?"

     "Yes." Simba said smilingly, "They're watching over everything we see."

The young cub was awed by the concept. All those stars...more than she could ever DREAM of counting. And they were all watching her! Returning to her back near her father, she suddenly picked something odd out of the sky.  "...hey what's that?"


     "That star up there, it's really bright isn't it?" Simba's muzzle gently twisted into a quiet, almost reverent smile.

     "That's a very special star, Kiara. Maybe someday you'll understand..."

     "But daddy-" she started to protest. Just as she was beginning to speak, a powerful gust of wind floated through the air like an ethereal blanket of warmth, passing over the pair much like a loving nuzzle. Simba craned his neck forward from the ground, recieving the wind with a gentle purr. Even Kiara was taken by the moment, leaning so that it caressed her side. It blew for a few moments, then suddenly disappeared into the night.
     Simba looked at Kiara. Kiara looked at Simba. In the brief span of time they both felt closer than they ever had before, neither unable to suppress a tear of unutterable joy as they snuggled close to each other. It was one of the best nights of her life, and of his as well. And once more an unbreakable bond was formed in the magical night under the stars.

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