Finding equilibrium.


Allie sat in the control room, her face buried in her paws, crying with anger and grief at what she’d just witnessed on investigating the prelude to the fight between Blackie and Ellie.  Allie had seen Ellie searching for her cub, her expression frantic with worry.  It was when she’d found the cub that her emotions turned to anger, but not just shouting and frothy noise, it was calculating, cold anger, which Ellie used to stalk her cub like prey!  Ellie had noiselessly padded towards her cub, and launched her attack with professional detachment.  Allie now sat, weeping into her paws.

     “This is horrible!”  She whimpered, her paws soaked with tears.  Allie felt someone touch her left hind paw.  The thing had warm paws, soft warm paws.  Looking down, Allie saw silver.

     “How did you get in here?”  She asked.

       “I pressed a button, a door opened and I heard you crying, so I came to comfort you,” Silver mewed, “I don’t know where I am, but that’s no big problem.  Blackie and Whitie say everyone can see everyone else here, so someone would find me soon I’m sure.  Allie slipped off the seat and lay down, cradling Silver in her paws.

       “You are in the control room,” she said, “I’m Allie, a polar bear.  Silver ran her paws all over Allie, from her nose to her short tail.

      “You have different paws to Blackie, Whitie or Snowy,” she mewed, “they’re big, and have the same number of toes on each paw.”

       “Has Whitie been teaching you how to explore with your paws?”  Allie asked.

     “Yes Allie she has,” Silver mewed, “its fun!      “I wish my cubs were more into that,”  Allie replied, “they got the benefits of paw massage and play during their births, and Bjorn’s still into it a bit, but Orsa’s not.”  Silver, as was her way, began stroking and exploring Allie’s left forepaw, the bear relaxing as the massage took hold.

        “Is this all right?”  Silver asked.  Allie nodded, then, remembering the cub couldn’t see, replied sleepily:




Meanwhile, back in the Boss’s place, snowy and Blackie watched silver and Allie in the next room.

      “Silver’s made a friend there I think,” Blackie said to snowy.


“Why were you crying?”  Silver asked the polar bear.

       “I saw your mum hit you, and it upset me,” Allie replied.

       “I hate my mother,” silver said with violence, “she whacks me with her paws for no reason!”

      “She had her reasons, but they were misguided,” Allie thought, saying nothing to the newborn cub.

      “You’re too young to understand,” was all she said, “one day I’ll tell you why your mum hit you.”

      “Mum doesn’t like Blackie,” silver mewed, “is that why she hit me? Because I went with Blackie?”  Allie looked down at her paws.

       “That is it isn’t it,” silver mewed, “my mum hates the black leopard so she stops me from going near him, in case I happen to get to like him!  Well now she’s stuffed, because I not only like the black leopard, he’s most likely my sire anyway!  Also, the community are most likely to make sure we are kept together.  I know this, I heard the boss saying something about it.  I’m free!”

       “Ellie’s being thrown out,” Allie said softly, “Nick can’t abide the sight of his former mate.

     “But her cubs, they’re his cubs too!”  Silver whimpered, “They’ve done nothing, out there, they’ll freeze to death, and what will they do for food!  No Allie, they can’t be thrown out with Ellie.  Let them stay, Snowy will look after them, she loves cubs!  I heard snowy saying she’d look after Ellie’s cubs if she was asked to.

      “Nick spoke to snowy, that’s why she said she’d look after his cubs,” Allie said.  “Dear silver, this community is far larger and more wonderful than you know.  Nearly everyone’s friendly, there are one or two who aren’t, but we’re dealing with them.  There are friendly tigers, lions and  bears, there are also some dogs, husky dogs they are, we’ve got a boxer, a Labrador and a mongrel type dog here, they’re okay, though don’t understand the larger animals very well.  One dog tried to come on to fleur…”

    Come on to fleur?”  Silver asked, what does that mean?”

      “Um, ah, make love to her,” Allie babbled, wishing she’d never mentioned it.

      “Like Ellie did to Blackie?”  Silver asked, Allie’s embarrassment growing:

       “Um, yes,” Allie mumbled, while Blackie and snowy laughed fit to bust at the situation.

       “Let’s go and put her out of her pain,” snowy said.  Padding into the control room, Blackie scooped Silver up in his paws.

     “Time to meet the community leader,” Blackie mewed.  He picked silver up by the scruff of her neck and carried her away.

     “Bye bye Allie!”  Silver yelled, waving all four paws at the polar bear.  Blackie carried his cub to Theo’s lie up, where they met Samson, Theo, Petra and Simba.  Silver instantly recognised Samson and Simba, but didn’t know Petra or Theo.  As soon as Blackie placed silver on the carpet, she crawled towards Samson.

     “Are you leader Samson?”  She asked.  Samson smiled:

      “No little Silver, not me,” he mewed, “Theo is the one you want.”  Theo waited for silver to pass him, reached out with his paws and gathered her to him.

     “I’m the community leader,” Theo mewed softly.  Silver smiled:

      “You can’t be!”  She mewed, “you’re just a softy, and Samson’s the hard one about here.  Leaders need to be hard and ruthless, he is, and you aren’t!  I can tell!”  Blackie looked at Theo for his reaction to such blunt talk.

      “Samson’s wild, I’m not,” Theo mewed, “I know that.  Silver’s picking up on this quickly.”  Theo licked silver’s ear, Silver snuggling up to the lion.  Suddenly there was a yell of:

      “I must see Silver before I go!”  Then the sounds of a scuffle.  The door burst open and Ellie pounded in, followed by Clarence and nick, who looked exhausted.

      “Ten rounds with the she devil!”  Clarence yelled, “I’m beaten!  Ellie threw herself at silver, who cowered, cuddling closer to Theo.

     “Can’t you see she doesn’t want you Ellie?”  Petra snarled.

      “Silver’s my cub!”  Ellie yelled.

      “Get out!”  Simba spat.

      “No!”  Ellie spat back, “you’re just a cub, so shut your mouth scrap, worm!”

       “Now you did it Ellie!”  Nick yelled, seeing the look on Samson’s face.

      “Get out Ellie,” Samson said softly, Theo’s toes curling at the calm in the larger lion’s tone.

       “No hairy one, I won’t!”  Ellie challenged.

      “No Sammy, don’t!”  Theo begged silently, as Samson got to his huge paws and looked down at Ellie.

      “You dare to challenge me now?”  He asked.

       “Get stuffed!”  Ellie yelled, her eyes maddened.  Samson opened his mouth and roared.  The sound was so loud and forceful that the floor and walls shook with it!  Silver screamed with fear, Theo wondering if he might scream with her, for he’d never heard such volume or power!  The sound went on and on and on!

       “Want more?”  Samson asked, the air still vibrating with the echoes of his first roar.

       “Um, ah, no! No Sammy!”  Clarence begged.

       “Give it some!”  We want more!”  Petra yelled.

       “I’m going!”  Ellie shrieked.

      “Don’t let us detain you,”   Simba said.  Samson began to growl, Petra urging him to increase his growl to a roar with upward motions of her paw.  Samson, trying not to laugh at Petra’s need for noise, chased Ellie from the room leaving Clarence and Nick to collapse exhausted onto the floor.

      “We tried to keep her out,” Nick panted, “but she would insist, and she was quick, dam quick!  Now she’s gone.”  Silver could hear Nick’s heart beating from where she lay nestled in Theo’s paws.  She noticed Theo’s paws shaking, and wondered if he was as scared as she was.

      “Are you scared too Theo?”  She asked faintly.  Theo looked down at his shaking paws and decided to admit to his true feelings.

      “Yes little one,” he mewed, “I am scared.”

       “Good, then I’m not alone,” Silver mewed.  Theo hugged her tenderly and said:

     “But I know with Samson’s help we’ll get through this.”  Petra smiled to herself.

      “Theo,” she said, “how would it be if you went into partnership with Samson?  On the leadership I mean.  Elsa has made it quite clear she hates the deputy role, so why not ask Sammy if he wants it.

       “I could,” Theo mewed, “but, then, well, Samson’s more of a leader than me, I know it, and I fear he does too.  I’m a softy, too soft.  He’s really hard!  He could lead this community well.”  The deputy leadership, though awarded to Petra years ago, had really been Elsa’s domain.  The tawny lioness hated the job, and wished the white lioness would take it from her, but Petra, through one thing and another, hadn’t done so.  Now Elsa was discontented, and Petra no longer wanted the job, so Elsa was forced by convention to carry the can if Theo wasn’t about.

      “Think about it anyway,” Petra urged, “for Elsa hates the job, and I don’t want it, never have really.  I was chosen by your brother Leo all those years ago, and that was it.  Now I’m looking after my cub and don’t want anything leadership related.”  Theo looked up as Samson wandered in, wiping his paws on the mat.

      “Ellie’s gone,” he said to the room in general.  Yawning, he flopped down beside Simba and took him in his paws.  Simba, conscious of the other cats in the room, resisted his adopted sire’s attentions.

      “Go with it Simba,” Petra mewed, “its okay.”  Simba cuddled up to Samson, enjoying his attention as the huge lion’s paws worked over his body.  Little Leo crawled up to them some time later, found Simba asleep in Samson’s paws and settled down with one paw touching that of the white cub.  Simba, woken by the touch of the hairy cub’s paw, looked round at Leo.

      “I’m sorry,” he mewed; “this is your spot really,” Leo grinned.

      “That’s okay,” he replied, “I’m sorry for waking you.”  Simba gently extricated himself from Samson’s embrace, the huge lion stirring slightly, for he’d fallen asleep soon after Simba.

       “Hi Leo,” he mewed, touching Leo’s nose with his, Leo cuddling close to his sire.  Samson felt his paws enveloping the hairy cub, and the feel of Leo cuddling close soothed Samson’s mind.

     “I could fall asleep right here,” Leo mewed.

     “It looks like Sammy could too,” Petra said.  Simba padded up to his mum and lay down beside her.

       “You look like you could sleep for a week too Simba Kizungu,” Petra mewed, kissing her cub on his nose.  Simba embraced Petra in his paws, the lioness purring contentedly.  Samson looked over at Petra and Simba, the sight of them cuddled up together bringing tears to his eyes.

      “I promise to look after you both,” he whispered.  Theo glanced up as Elsa padded into the room.

      “Ellie’s well away from here,” she mewed.

      “Elsa,” Theo said, “how would it be if Samson was deputy leader?  I know you don’t’ like the post much and, well, you don’t like a, “rumpus,” as you put it.”  Elsa looked at Samson.

      “Do you want the job Samson?”  Elsa asked.  Samson brushed the fringe from his eyes with a paw.

      “If you wish it to be so,” he replied.  Elsa snorted at his archaic turn of phrase.

      “I wanted a yes or a no,” she snarled.

     “Can’t you just let him be?”  Little Leo mewed, “it’s not Samson’s fault he’s the way he is.”  Elsa whipped round on the cub, snapping at his head!

       “Shut up!”  She yelled.  Samson, nearly throwing Leo at Theo, leapt upon Elsa!

      “You horrid bitch!”  He yelled, “How dare you snap at my cub!”

      “Oh, big Sammy!  Elsa mocked.  Theo’s toes curled, silver feeling his anxiety.

      “No Elsa, don’t!”  Theo yelled, “don’t, don’t do it!  Say no more!  He’ll kill you!”  Elsa goaded Samson some more, jeering at and taunting him.

      “Big Sammy, big pussy cat!  Come and get me if you’re hard enough!”  She teased, jabbing her paw at him.  Samson suddenly lost it!  Roaring with rage, a sound which made even Petra’s fur stand on end, Samson attacked Elsa!  Theo screamed and screamed as he saw his mate engulfed in long mane and trampled under huge paws!

      “Elsa!  Elsa!”  He yelled, “oh god Elsa!  Samson, please, Stop it!  Stop it please!  You’ll kill her, you’ll kill my mate!”  Samson, hearing Theo pleading for his mate’s life, left off, intending to leave it there.  Elsa was badly beaten up, but not fatally injured.  She would have survived if things had been left like that, but Elsa had other ideas.

      “Go on Sammy, just try it!  Try to fight me wimp!”  Elsa yelled.  Samson looked at Elsa.

      “You do know I will kill you if I carry on?”  He said.  Elsa, now maddened, punched Samson on his nose!

       “I know what I’m doing!”  She yelled.  Samson looked into Elsa’s eyes.

        “As you are a grown lioness, I take your word as final,” he mewed, “but if you were younger, I’d hesitate.  May the best lion win!”  Elsa died soon after, her neck broken by Samson’s paws.

       “I’m sorry Theo,” Samson said.  Theo, crying bitterly, fled from the room, knowing the law of the wild had been obeyed, knowing his mate was the architect of her own death, but unable to cope with the sudden loss all the same.

      “Poor Theo,” Samson sobbed, “I don’t care for his mate, but I love him dearly, and I didn’t want to do what I did.  I had to though, Elsa wouldn’t leave me alone.  She goaded me into killing her.  I must, must protect the cubs.  Her reaction to little Leo’s comment was extreme, too extreme.”

        “You protected your cub,” Petra mewed, “you can’t be blamed for that.”

      “But there’s a line I crossed between protecting my cub and attacking Elsa!  I went too far!”  Samson sobbed.

      “She taunted and mocked you until you killed her,” Petra mewed; “you gave her a chance Sammy!”

       “I gave her a chance to live!”  Samson choked, “she asked me to try it and I did!  She forgets in all my play with the cubs, with my love for baths and paw massage, that I’m still wild!  I can’t change who I am.  I’m sorry, sorry for Theo, but not for Elsa.”  Samson padded away, leaving Silver to be looked after by Nick, Petra Clarence and Simba.  Padding to Theo’s lie up, Samson found the younger lion crumpled on the rug, crying and biting at one forepaw, something he did when very distressed.  The paw was already bleeding, and Samson knew he would have to stop Theo.

     ”Theo, please, stop biting your paw,” Samson begged.  Theo stopped biting his left forepaw, the pads bleeding from where his teeth had punctured them.

      “The pain from my paw is real,” he sniffed, “the pain in my head from Elsa’s death is unbearable, and I can do nothing about it!  Why did you do it Samson?  Why kill Elsa?”

      “I stopped once I’d taught her a lesson,” Samson mewed, “but she goaded and taunted me to give it another go.  I did, and killed her.  I didn’t want to Theo!  I was protecting my cub, for she snapped at Leo’s head!  Her eyes were murderous!”

       “She forgot you were wild,” Theo mewed, “and, and so did I.  You are a lovely chap Samson, but cross you and things change.  You become deadly!  Elsa should have remembered that.  Why did she turn on Leo like that?  She hated him!”

       “I don’t know,” Samson mewed, “maybe she was angry with me, so she struck at Leo to get at me.”

      “Angry with you?  For what?”  Theo asked.

     “For being the leader she could never be.  Elsa was furious because she could never give out punishment like she wanted to.  She wanted to lash out like wild lionesses do, but because she was deputy she couldn’t.  You wouldn’t let her.  So she got more and more frustrated, then when I accepted the job, which Elsa had to ask if I wanted, and I accepted, Elsa lost it, snapping at little Leo.  Unfortunately she tangled with the wrong cub, for his sire was no lap cat.  Sammy became wild Samson, and I busted her.”  Theo looked at his life long friend.

      “You are truly wild,” he mewed, “and Elsa forgot that and paid for it.”


Meanwhile, back in Theo’s lie up, Clarence and Nick had moved Elsa’s badly broken body.  Leo and Silver knew what was happening, even if they couldn’t see the details.  Petra lay with her head in her paws, mewing and whimpering, with Simba trying to comfort her.

       “It will be okay,” Simba mewed.  Petra sniffed hard.

       “It’s not Elsa I’m worried for, it’s Theo!”  She sobbed.

       “Theo will be okay, I promise,” Simba mewed.


Theo and Samson padded back to Theo’s lie up, Theo grateful Elsa’s body had been removed.

       “She crossed the wrong lion,” Theo said, referring to Elsa.

     “But Samson killed her Theo!”  Petra sobbed, “Aren’t you going to punish him?”

      “I can’t,” Theo replied, “and before you challenge me, I’ll tell you why I can’t.  Elsa snapped at Leo’s head, Samson, despite all his love for baths, paw massage and other community pass times, is still wild.  She forgot that, endangered his cub, and paid the price.  Now she is dead, and though I am sorry she is dead, she made her choice.  Samson gave her that choice.”  Samson looked down at his paws, noticing his toes were curled into the carpet.

       “I’m sorry,” he sobbed.  Petra looked at Samson.

       “So if we cross you you’ll kill us?”  She asked.

      “No Petra, Elsa endangered my cub that was why I beat her up in the first place.  She taunted me, goading me to do my worst.  She forgot I was wild, forgot I am a killer.  I will not kill from anger at words or silly things, but endanger my cubs; I will kill, and without a second thought.  I will also protect with my paws as well as use them to fight.  I didn’t want to kill Elsa, I demonstrated that.”

       “I’ve seen a lot in my short life,” Leo said, “but what I don’t understand is why Elsa didn’t want a rumpus as she put it.  Why, if she was deputy leader and could sort a rumpus, did she hate them so much?”

      “Because she couldn’t use violence to put the rumpus down,” silver mewed, “Elsa wanted to hurt, to kill, and Theo wouldn’t let her.  That was her frustration.  The thing was, she didn’t know what real fighting was, how real wild lions work.  She had an idea, but when it came to the time, she had no answer to the wild power of a wild lion.  Samson knew how to use his claws and teeth, and used them without mercy.  Theo cannot use his claws or teeth, I know it.  He’s too gentle.  Samson though, cross him, and he’ll have you for dinner.”  Theo realised he couldn’t raise a paw to anyone. That the leadership was passing from him to Samson, but who would be deputy leader?

      “Who will be your number two Samson?”  Theo asked.  Petra stared at her sire.

      “You’re abdicating?”  She asked.

       Petra,” Theo mewed, “where did a leader’s soft paws get us?  Nowhere!  I’m too soft; my paws are too soft, I can’t deal out justice when it’s needed!  I’ve been coming to my decision ever since I saw Simba kill Winifred.  I don’t have stopping power, Simba does, and so does Samson.”

      “But Simba’s only a cub!”  Petra mewed, “you can’t make the same mistake Leo did when he appointed me deputy!”

     “Look at him Petra, “look at Simba,” Samson mewed, “does he look like a cub?”  Petra looked at her adopted Son cub.  He stood flat pawed on the carpet, claws sheathed but confident.

       “Could you be firm but fair Simba?”  She asked.  Simba smiled:

      “I can be mum,” he mewed, “I will fight for my community, as it fought for me.  My duty is to my family and to my community, which are one and the same.  I can be fair, but I can also be firm, not shrinking from the duty if it needs to be done.”

      “I will teach you how to fight bare pawed Simba,” Samson mewed.  “You will learn to pounce, to use your teeth, paws and claws, and to carry out the final act.  I believe you know instinctively how to suffocate prey, but I will teach you more.  How to drown prey as well as kill it on dry land.  Petra shivered as she remembered the tales of Aslan’s half drowning by Samson.  The lion was wild and dangerous!

       “We need to tell the whole community about the change of leadership,” Petra sighed, “you aren’t in yet Samson, or you Simba.


Allie, seeing trouble, and guessing something was up, had summoned all the community, without exception, to the main living room to view the goings on in Theo’s lie up.  Now everyone knew of Elsa’s death and of the goings on after it.

      “This is almost too much!”  Salty mewed, “Elsa went off her head because she wanted to be violent but couldn’t be due to Theo being leader!”

      “She just exploded,” Yi jie replied, “a pressure cooker with no release valve.  She thought she was invincible.  Now she is dead.  I don’t want to get on the wrong side of our new leaders, they are both proven killers.”

       “So we’ll be tiptoeing around them in case we get killed,” Kodiak said, “lovely that!”

      “No,” Whitie replied, “they won’t kill for the sake of it.  That will be a sanction of last resort, one which wasn’t there before.  It’s just that now Simba and Samson are in charge, they will be able to carry out the punishment without damage to themselves.  Theo couldn’t!  It wasn’t in his nature, but it is in the natures of Samson and Simba.  Now we go on from here, loving our cubs and our community, knowing that we have two leaders who are fair but have the capacity to deal out justice if needed.”


       “I am sorry Elsa died,” Samson said to Leona, who sat at the back of the room, her head hung in grief.

       “You gave her the choice, we all saw that,” the young lioness mewed, “my mum challenged you to a fight.  I told her she wasn’t a wild lioness and knew nothing.  She thought she was so experienced, but she wasn’t.  If she was, she’d have given birth to me in the wood, not in the house.  Mum had been too used to a zoo, and could not function outside, even though she’d once been wild.  She thought she knew wild, but she didn’t.  She thought wild meant violence for the sake of it.  If you’re angry with someone, beat the shit out of them until they’re dead.  The wild isn’t like that, it’s violent, but not unnecessarily so.  Elsa thought violence solved everything, and that was the root of her frustration with the leadership.  Now though, we can get to proper leadership, where we have fairness, but the ultimate sanction is there, just in case.  I thank you for your words Samson, but I wish it had never come to this.”  Samson took Leona’s paw in his.

      “I didn’t want to kill your mum,” he whispered to the young lioness.

      “I know, I know,” she sniffed, “mum made you kill her, she wanted it.  She knew she was about to die.  She couldn’t fight you, and you gave her the chance to pull out.  You were chivalrous in battle, where she was stupid.  Mum thought she knew everything, but she knew nothing.”  Leona looked into Samson’s face.  She thought he had the most gorgeous eyes.

      “I must go now,” Samson said.  With that he padded away, his head hung in shame and tail hung in fatigue.  Samson suddenly felt tired.  Dragging himself back to his lie up, he blearily saw fleur with Little Leo.  Collapsing in a heap, Samson closed his eyes, the whole room spinning.

      “I’ve done too much today,” he whimpered, “I’m beaten!”  Fleur looked at him.

       “You fought Elsa to the death, that’s no easy job,” she mewed.  Samson looked at his mate, taking her in from her nose to her paw pads, which he could see as she was lying on her side.  Fleur, watching Samson’s eyes, twitched her ears and wiggled her toes as his eyes travelled down her body.  Samson smiled at her.

     “You are beautiful,” he mewed.  Fleur smiled at Samson, Leo crawling up to him and embracing him with his hairy paws.  Samson examined his cub from nose to tail, Leo rolling onto his back to show Samson his belly and the soles of his paws.  Samson took hold of each of Leo’s paws, the cub wiggling his toes just like his mum had, enjoying his attention.

      “My paws are all yours,” LEO MEWED.  Samson stroked Leo’s paws, the cub purring, very content with his lot.  Samson having examined, stroked and massaged the pads and toes of all four of Leo’s paws, gathered the cub to him in a huge hug.  Samson cried for joy as Leo snuggled up to him, the cub burying his face, and working his paws into his sire’s long mane.

     “I love you Leo,” Samson sobbed, Leo cuddling hard up to him.  Samson held his cub tightly with one huge paw, using the other to stroke Leo’s head and back.

       “I love this,” Leo mewed.  Fleur watched all, her eyes showing her own enjoyment of the whole thing.  Leo wriggled free of Samson’s hug and rolled onto his back, waving his paws in the air for his sire to catch and tickle.  Samson obliged, catching, stroking and tickling the cub’s paws.  Samson loved every inch of Leo, from his nose to his paw pads.  The lion knew his cub loved his paws stroked, so Samson stroked them for a long time, the cub purring and mewing with pleasure.

       “My paws might need clipping again,” he mewed.  Samson examined the soles of Leo’s paws with his toes, feeling the long hair returning.

      “It’s been a week now since the Boss clipped your paws,” Samson said.

       “You don’t mind having your paws clipped do you Leo?”  Samson asked.  Leo nodded.

      “It tickles,” he replied, “but its okay.”  Samson looked for echoes of Fleur in Leo, finding them in his undercoat and in the fur surrounding the pads of his paws.  Leo’s undercoat had stripes and spots, his paws were also spotted on their soles.  Fleur watched her mate examining their cub with care, his toes working into Leo’s fur, as if the lion was searching for fleas and tics.  Fleur laughed at Samson’s antics, while Leo tried to have all four of his paws stroked at once.

      “One paw at a time Leo,” Samson mewed.

      “Leo’s every inch our cub Sammy,” fleur mewed, laughing merrily.

     “When will his eyes open fleur?”  Samson asked.

      “Any time now I think Samson,” she replied.

       “I heard a story which told of Aslan and his eyes not opening for ages,” Samson replied.

     “That was because he hated baths,” Fleur mewed, “Leo loves them so washing his face will get rid of all the mucus and stuff.  We mustn’t force the pace though, do it gently.”


A week later, Leo’s eyes opened for the first time, and he was more mischievous than ever.  Now he could see, he was always running off to find Silver, the grey lynx leopard cross cub having opened her eyes for the first time shortly after Leo.  Having gained their paws, Silver and Leo would often hide away to play together. The two cubs loved each other’s company, and were always together.  They were very tactile in the way they expressed themselves, touching noses, using their paws to touch each other’s paws, as well as rubbing bellies and paw pads.


The two cubs would often play in Petra and Simba’s lie up, the two white lions watching them with huge enjoyment.

     “You two are so funny!”  Simba whooped.  The cubs took any comment from the large white cub as a signal that he wished to join in their games, and very soon Simba was pinned down by Leo and Silver, each tickling a forepaw each.  Simba loved their play, and wished he could play like he’d used to do.  It seemed though, that since the leadership had changed paws, Simba found he had less time to play.  He vowed not to become so wrapped up in community work he had no time to play.  He wondered if he could teach Silver and Leo how to pretend play like his mum and he’d often played.


Silver and Leo ran round and round Petra and Simba, somersaulting over their heads and landing in undignified heaps on the carpet.  Petra, laughing so hard tears rolled down her nose, wiped her eyes with one huge white paw.

      “You two, you really know, know how to have a good time,” she guffawed.  Leo pounced on silver’s tail, pinning it between his forepaws, silver crawling away, dragging Leo with her.  This cub was strong, really strong.  The sight made Petra remember the time when Simba had dragged her down the passage to his encounter with Orsa in the bathroom; Petra fancied she could still feel the ache in her paws.


Leo and Silver regained their paws and trotted towards the pool complex, where they splashed busily into the water.  Once they’d gone, Petra looked at Simba, who was flexing his paws.

       “Samson’s training has taken up a lot of your time,” she mewed, “want to show me what you’ve learned?”  Simba looked doubtful.

      “Mum,” he said, “you don’t know anything about this. If I start roughhousing with you in the way Samson and I do, you’ll be injured.”  Petra said nothing.  Simba got to his paws, and the next thing Simba knew, he was on his back, his paws dead and the wind knocked out of him!

       “Who said anything about me knowing nothing?”  Petra asked.  Simba gasping for air!

     “Mum, for Eohippus sake!  Where the hell did you learn that!”  Petra smiled.

      “I’ve been learning, for I also have a good teacher.  Samson’s been teaching me how to fight bare pawed, the same way he’s been teaching you.  Mine is more for self defence, rather than for defence of the community.  I’ve only learned defence, I won’t initiate a contact.  If I get in trouble, I will fight my way out, and then run like hell!”

     “Slowly in your case mum,” Simba replied, “you can’t run.  You’re not built for running.  That’s why you were taught such devastating tactics; to give you time to get the hell out of a situation.  I take it what you did to me was half speed so to speak?”

      “Yes,” Petra mewed, “Samson taught me how to do it and then told me to just hit a bit harder, and the affect would be increased.  That’s not the only trick I know, but it’s the main one.”  Simba suddenly leapt at Petra!  Petra saw the lion coming at her, and turned into him, lowering her head, Simba’s forelegs meeting Petra’s shoulder!  Screaming with pain, Simba collapsed, Petra throwing him over her shoulder and onto the floor.

       “That hurt!  Simba whimpered.

      “I told you I was trained,” Petra mewed, “you don’t’ know how much I know though do you?  I’m not telling.”  Petra smiled at her Son cub, while Simba got painfully to his paws.

       “Mum, Samson trained you so we could practise didn’t he?  It wasn’t just for your own defence.”

      “No,” Petra mewed, “you’re right.”

      “So you can be my worst enemy on the field of battle,” Simba mewed.

      “I can, or I can let you win.  I choose not to let you win, for if I did, you’d never learn what it is to fight for real.  Now Simba, want more?”  Simba, his paws still tingling from Petra’s first attack, turned away.

      “Samson’s a good teacher,” he said, “but I wish he’d told me he’d taught you all this.”  Petra smiled at Simba, padded up to him and used her teeth to tweak the tip of his tail.

      “Get off my tail!”  Simba snarled in mock anger, laughing.  Petra hugged her son cub, Simba snuggling up to her, enjoying the warmth of paws which five minutes ago had deadened his own paws to great affect.

      “I’m sorry I was so rough with you,” Petra mewed.  Simba licked his mum’s ear.

       “I suppose I walked into that,” he replied, “saying I was too hard for you to roughhouse with.  Now I know what you can do.”  Petra smiled.

      “I wonder if Snowy would benefit from Samson’s tuition.”  She mused.

       “Snowy’s too big and fat,” Simba replied, “she’s a lovely tigress, but she’s too fat, she’d never muster the speed or the aggression to do half what you and I can.  No, her job is to look after the cubs, ours is to protect the community and the dens.  How many others have been trained like this?”

      “Allie, Sam and Isaac, plus Bruin and Brunetta,” Petra mewed.  Nanuq knows the self defence and attack drills for bears.  He used to be a fighter, and is using his knowledge to teach the bears and pandas.”

     “I can’t imagine Brunetta getting involved with this,” Simba mewed, “she’s too into her paw massage! She’s always away with the fairies.”

      “She’s good,” Nanuq said, padding into Petra’s lie up, “I even tested her when she was massaging her own paws.  I leapt at her and she floored me!  She can move, and she’s heavy pawed too when she wants to be.  Talk about a bear with a sore head!  She had sore paws that day too!  She won out right.”  Petra smiled.

      “Glad she’s getting on well,” she mewed.


Meanwhile, Silver and Leo played in the pool under Fleur’s supervision.  The two cubs rolled in the water, massaging and tickling each other’s paws and ducking each other, having a great time of it.  Simba and Petra found them there, Nanuq bringing up the rear.

     “Let’s swim a bit,” Petra suggested.  With that she and Simba slipped into the water, Simba holding Petra’s tail in his forepaws, Petra paddling with all four paws, dragging her Son cub along.  This big cat train was joined by Silver and Leo, Simba having to kick a little to take the additional weight off of Petra.  Fleur watched the four cats paddling about while she stroked and massaged Nanuq’s paws.  The polar bear had longed to do the same for the cross bred cat, and put it to her.

      “Of course you can,” she mewed, “how about if we do it now?”  Nanuq smiled.

     “Okay,” he said.  So Nanuq did, stroking and massaging Fleur’s paws, examining them from toes to heel pads, Fleur loving every minute of it.  The feel of the bear’s huge paws, with their large pads and short toes enveloping and feeling their way over her own pads and toes was wonderful.  Samson arrived, having been warned about the roughhousing between Simba and his mum, to see fleur and Nanuq together, the bear massaging the large cat’s paws, and watched for a while.

      “Could I have some of that Nanuq?”  Samson asked.  Nanuq smiled at Samson.

     “Of course,” he said, “let me finish here with fleur and I’d be delighted to massage your paws.”  Soon Samson was in the water where Fleur had been, the bear’s huge paws working on his own, the lion loving every minute.  This was a different massage to that given by the paws of a cat, all together more enveloping and in some ways better than a big cat could manage.  Once Samson had surfaced from his massage induced doze, he examined Nanuq’s paws, seeing the way they moved, how the bear’s toes and paws worked differently to his own.  Nanuq had more agile paws, better for all over massage.  The paw massage had totally taken up Samson’s mind, the lion having forgotten what he’d come to the pool for.  He’d actually come to remonstrate with Petra and Simba for fighting in public, fearing the cubs might have a go at imitating the actions of the white lions.  Getting from the water, Nanuq and Samson shook themselves dry, Samson Calling Simba and Petra to him for a chat.  To underline the serious nature of what he was about to say, Samson asked Simba and Petra to get from the water and shake themselves dry.  This done, the community leader spoke to them.

      “I know you two want to spar with each other,” Samson mewed to Petra and her cub, “but I wish you’d not do it in front of the cubs!  They might get ideas, and some of the tactics I taught you both are dangerous.  I know Petra’s are more about giving her enough time to get away to safety, but even she knows some that will kill.  Now I don’t want you two practising your art in sight of the cubs!”  Petra and Simba promised Samson they’d keep their paws off each other in public, both of them trying not to laugh at his attempt at a serious expression.  Samson was in truth pleased the two lions were training together.  Though he wondered why Petra had kept her own involvement secret until challenged to a fight.  Maybe Petra wanted to keep her self defence classes confidential in case they worried Simba.  Samson could see the large cub was devoted to his mum, and Petra knew his feelings towards her.  It was only when Simba told his mum that she would be hurt if he showed her any tactics, that Petra showed her hand and demonstrated to Simba that she was no softy in the defence department.


Samson struggled from the water, looking with interest at Nanuq.

      “I know this might sound strange,” he said, “but could you please show me how your paws work? Cat’s paws are so immobile compared to a bear’s.  We can only move our toes, curling and stretching them as one unit, you can move individual toes, and I can see this and want to know more.  I’m sorry for my curiosity.”  Nanuq smiled, slapped Samson on the shoulder and said:

      “Let’s do that, I can ask Brunetta to show you.  She loves paw play, and would love to show you how her paws work.  It will be paws on mind you, she’ll show you everything, have you stroking her paws, as well as showing you how her fore and hind paws differ to those of cats.  She’ll love it I’m sure.”  Samson looked down at his own paws, ashamed at his curiosity.

     “Don’t worry,” Nanuq said, “if you like, I’ll let you see my paws, and then noone will know anything.  Simba and Petra grinned at each other.

      “Don’t you go telling!”  Samson snarled.

      “No, we won’t,” Simba mewed, “for mum and I would like to join in if we can.”  Nanuq smiled.

     “Why not,” he said, why don’t we bears and you lions have a huge paw play session.  That would be so good!”

      “I can hardly wait for the day,” Petra mewed, dancing on her toes.  Nanuq laughed at her antics, and Simba joined his mother in dancing, the bear joining the two lions, Samson feeling almost forced to join in too.  Before they knew it, three lions and a polar bear were dancing round the pool, fleur and her cubs watching them and trying not to laugh.

      “Just look at those three!”  Fleur said, giving up the struggle and falling about, “they look so funny!”  Samson looked even funnier when he lost his footing and fell into the water, to the delight of the cubs.

      “That wasn’t in the programme!”  Samson mewed, paddling to the side of the pool and being dragged out by Nanuq.  Samson felt the polar bear’s paws enveloping his as he took hold of them to drag him from the water, the sensation making Samson want to be a bear; he loved the way their paws worked.

       “I want to be a bear!”  Samson mewed to himself.  Nanuq smiled, overhearing his leader’s words.

      “You can’t be a bear Samson my friend,” he said, “but you can have bears round you.”  Samson smiled.


Petra and Simba watched Samson.

      “You are quite taken by Nanuq I see,” Petra mewed.

       “I’ve always liked bears,” Samson replied, “They fascinate me.”  Nanuq looked into Samson’s eyes.

       “You said you wanted to be a bear,” he said, “I know your friend Theo wanted to be one also.  He’s got a thing about bears, the way they move, the way they do things, Theo likes watching bears walking, feeding, playing, or even just sleeping.  I’ve seen him running round and round Arki as she’s walking, trying to get a good view of her from all angles.  He watches her head, her legs, and her paws from all positions.  Theo has a real liking for a bear’s paws, the way they move, their dexterity and general lightness of touch.”  Samson nodded.

      “I know,” he said, “Theo described the way Brunetta stroked her own hind paws with her forepaws once, it was in such detail too, right down to the way her pads and toes looked as she stroked them.  Theo got quite emotional as he described the lightness of touch Brunetta displayed.  He said his own paws were clumsy when compared to those of a bear, and he wished he was a bear.”  Nanuq knew of Theo’s love of everything ursine.

       “Theo’s funny,” Brunetta said, padding up to Samson and smiling as she saw him examining her from nose to paws.

       “He wishes he was a bear,” Nanuq said, “he’s made that quite clear.”  Brunetta raised a forepaw and wiggled her toes, Samson watching her.

       “I understand you like having your paws examined,” Samson said, trying to be slightly detached.

      “Examined?”  Brunetta asked, “You make it sound so clinical.  No, I like to play with my paws, for cubs to play with them and to play games with them myself.  I love my paws, and think everyone else should love theirs!”

      “I’m just learning how to,” Samson mewed, “but I’m a big cat, and can’t do much with my paws, not like you bears can.  You can stroke your own hind paws with your forepaws, I can’t!  I’d love to be able to do that!”  Brunetta smiled, rolled onto her back and waved her paws in the air.  Samson laughed fit to bust, as did Petra and Simba.  Their laughter making Fleur and the cubs leave the water to see what was causing such merriment.

       “I want to be a bear!”  Samson mewed, rolling onto his back and waving his paws in the air in an attempt to capture some of Brunetta’s enthusiasm.

     “You don’t look like a bear Sammy,” fleur mewed. Samson tried to growl like a bear and failed.

      “Don’t try to be something you’re not Sammy,” Brunetta said, “accept the fact you’re a cat.  By all means take a good look at, and explore my paws with yours, I’d like you to do that.  But please remember you’re a cat.”  Samson suddenly had a crazy idea.

     “Let’s see who the best fighter is!”  He mewed, “Nanuq, come let’s roughhouse!”  Samson leapt to his paws, Nanuq smiling, Picking the lion up by the scruff of his neck, and, after letting the lion pedal the air with his paws for a few seconds, casually threw him into the pool.  Samson screamed and landed with a huge splash.

      “That’s not roughhousing!”  Petra mewed, as Samson, gasping with shock, paddled to the side of the pool and hauled himself out.  He lay panting on the tiles like a beached seal.

        “You want to roughhouse with me now Sammy?”  Nanuq asked.

      “Piss off,” Samson groaned.

       “Don’t use such dreadful language!”  Silver said in a theatrical matronly voice, striding up to Samson and smacking his paw.  Simba, Nanuq, Brunetta Petra and fleur fell about laughing, while Samson lay stunned at the cub’s courage.

       “You young rogue!”  Samson spat, though his heart wasn’t in it.  Silver smiled and padded back to Leo, who took her paw in his.

       “Now shall we go home?”  Brunetta suggested, picking herself up off the tiles, “my paws are missing play.”  Samson got shakily to his feet and looked at Nanuq, who grinned at him.

      “Let’s go,” the lion mewed.


Padding to Brunetta’s lie up, Samson, Nanuq and the others lay down, Brunetta’s den being spacious.  Brunetta got bowls of tea for everyone including Leo and silver, who’d never tasted the hot liquid before.  Once everyone had quenched their thirst, Brunetta settled down with Nanuq so the lions and other cats could take a look at, and touch their paws.  Only silver among the cubs had ever touched a bear’s paw before, Leo hadn’t; indeed, the hairy cub had never met a polar or brown bear before.  Naturally, it was Leo’s turn to go first.  He padded up to Nanuq the huge polar bear sprawled all over the place, trying to look as approachable and docile as possible.  Leo padded up to the huge bear, stopping about a foot from him.  Nanuq smiled encouragingly, beckoning with one huge forepaw for the cub to advance.  Leo carefully put one paw in front of the other, until he was nose to nose with Nanuq.

     “Trust him to go for the larger of the two,” Fleur whispered to Petra.

       “Take a good look at me, touch me if you like,” Nanuq said gently.

       “I don’t know if I want to touch you just yet,” Leo mewed, “you’re bigger than I expected now I’m almost treading on your forepaws.”  Nanuq closed his eyes.

      “I promise I won’t move,” he said, “come, touch my nose, and then work your way to my paws.  Clamber over me if needed, for I want you to know everything about me, from how my nose looks, to how my toes look.  Touch me too, from nose to tail, ears to paws, I won’t hurt you.”  Leo tentatively reached out a paw and touched Nanuq’s nose with his pads.  He felt the bear’s warm breath stirring the long hair on the sole of his paw, and it felt strange to be touching another creature which was so much bigger than himself.  Large cats he could cope with, for they were like him only bigger, but a bear was a different matter.  He flinched as Nanuq rolled from lying on his chest onto his side.

      “Come,” the bear said, almost purring, “Come Leo, explore me with your paws.”

      “Do, do I have to?”  The cub asked, now scared.

       “No,” Nanuq replied, “you don’t’ have to if you don’t want to.”  Leo closed his eyes, fighting with his natural fear and with the knowledge that he’d look stupid if he refused.  Leo felt sure Silver would stride up to the polar bear and from the very start be tickling his paws and roughhousing with him.  Nanuq saw Leo’s conflicting emotions, for he was perceptive.

      “Silver won’t think you stupid,” Nanuq said gently to Leo, the cub beginning to cry with fear.  Then, because it was natural to him to comfort a cub, Nanuq unthinkingly took Leo in his paws and embraced him.  Leo felt warm fur, and, in his distressed state, didn’t for one minute connect the paws holding him with the situation which had upset him.  Wanting warmth, Leo cuddled close, weeping into the polar bear’s fur.  Nanuq stroked Leo’s back with one forepaw, the other holding the cub close.

       “Nanuq’s got hold of Leo!”  Silver whispered, “Leo didn’t want to even touch the bear, but now, now the bear’s got hold of him!”

      “Nanuq saw Leo was upset and embraced him,” Petra mewed, “Leo is so upset he doesn’t even realise who’s holding him.  Nanuq won’t hurt Leo.”

     “How do you know?”  Silver asked.

     “Trust me,” Petra mewed, remembering her first encounter with the huge polar bear, “I know.”  Silver saw Petra’s eyes fill with tears, the lioness casually wiping her eyes with a paw.

      “It’s hot in here,” she mewed.

     “No Petra, it’s air conditioned, it’s not hot,” silver mewed, “you were nearly crying.”  Petra turned her gaze back to Leo, who was now calm.

      “Thank you,” he said to Nanuq, then he looked down at the paws holding him, they were white, and very big.

       “These are your paws aren’t they,” Leo mewed, touching the toes of Nanuq’s left forepaw with those of his right fore.  Nanuq smiled.

     “They are indeed,” he replied.

       “but, but I didn’t want to touch your paws,”  Leo mewed, “not then, but now, now, well, I could, all four of them, touch them, explore them, even tickle them.”

      “Let’s just take one thing at a time,” Nanuq said gently.  So Leo did, taking one of Nanuq’s paws as best he could in his and stroking it.

     “Nice warm paws aren’t they,” Petra mewed to the long haired cub.

      “They are,” Leo mewed, “they are very soft Petra.  Brunetta looked over at silver.

      “Want to examine my paws?”  She asked.  Silver padded over and did as Brunetta suggested, finding the female brown bear’s paws very similar to Allie’s.

      “So all bears have similar paws then,” Silver mewed.

     “All except the panda, who have six toes on their forepaws rather than five, but yes, most bears, have similar paws,” Brunetta mewed, enjoying the sensation of Silver’s pads working over those of her left hind paw.

       “Your toes are curling round mine!”  Silver mewed, “that feels so funny!”  Brunetta massaged Silver’s toes with hers.

      “Does that feel good?”  She asked, knowing very well what the cub’s answer would be.

      “Yes,” Silver mewed, “if you can do that with your hind paw, what can you do with your forepaws?”  Brunetta smiled:

      “I will show you if you like,” she replied.

       “But your hind paw is holding my forepaw at the moment,” silver mewed.  Brunetta released Silver’s paw, the silver grey cub stroking Brunetta’s pads with her toes, the brown bear smiling broadly.

      “This feels great,” she said; curling her toes so her pads bunched, silver grinning as she felt Brunetta’s pads against her own.  Brunetta smiled as her pads got massaged by Silver.  Silver stroked each one of Brunetta’s paws, the female brown bear soon comatose with pleasure.

      “I love this,” Silver mewed, “I can feel I’m doing well, I can feel you like having your paws stroked.”  Brunetta curled her toes round Silver’s, the Silver coated cub smiling broadly at the reaction of the brown bear.


Meanwhile, Nanuq was enjoying Leo’s attentions, the cross bred cub massaging and stroking his paws.  Leo found huge paws with large pads and toes.  He also found the bear curled up in bliss, the cub sure he was doing a good job as he felt the bear’s paws relaxing, the huge toes curling slightly, pads bunching together.  Nanuq closed his eyes, Leo smiling to himself as he felt the polar bear’s body curling up.

      “Nanuq’s nearly asleep,” Petra mewed to Samson, the huge lion smiling broadly.

      “Polar bears look so lovely when they’re asleep,” he mewed.  Samson got to his feet and padded over to Brunetta, who grinned at him and thrust out a forepaw for him to take in his.  Samson took the offered paw and began to stroke it, Brunetta smiling at him.

      “Feel how my paw works,” she said, flexing her toes.  Samson smiled as her pads pressed against his.

      “You have soft warm paws Brunetta,” Samson mewed.  Brunetta grinned.

     “I love my paws and what they can do,” she said.

      “Why not show him how you can massage your hind paws,” Silver suggested.  Brunetta did, Samson watching her stroking her hind paws with her fore and evidently enjoying it too.

      “How much can paw massage do for bears?”  Samson asked.  How far can it help?”  Brunetta smiled.

      “It can help a mother to give birth to her cubs,” she said.  Samson watched Brunetta’s face and paws, noticing how much she was enjoying her self administered paw massage.

       “What else can you do with your forepaws?”  Samson asked.  Brunetta shook herself out of her reverie and got to her paws, padding over to a cupboard on the wall.  Digging out a jar full of something brown.

     “I love peanut butter!”  Brunetta said, “But it comes in jars.  How do I get into the jar you ask?  I use my paw to open it, like this.”  Brunetta put the jar on the carpet, and, sitting down in front of it, she steadied the jar with one forepaw while using the other to twist the top off.  Samson stared at her in astonishment!

      “That’s Amazing!”  He mewed.  Brunetta smiled.

     “Want to try it for yourself?”  Brunetta asked.

     “What, the peanut butter or opening the jar?”  Samson asked.

     “Both if you’d like,” the female brown bear replied, smiling at Nanuq and Leo as they joined her little group.

       “I’ll give it a go,” Samson said, looking down at his own paws and realising he wouldn’t be able to open the jar.  Samson tried and failed.

       “You do it!”  He snapped in frustration, after five minutes of struggling to open the jar.  Brunetta opened the jar, then padded to the cupboard again and got out some wheat biscuits and a butter knife.  Samson recognised everything, but had only ever seen the boss use the butter knife.  He knew Brunetta was about to use it to spread the peanut butter on the wheat biscuits.  Samson watched as Nanuq joined Brunetta, and before long, they had a pile of biscuits in front of them, all spread with peanut butter from the jar, Brunetta having used the knife to spread the butter on the biscuits.  Passing one to Samson, Brunetta watched as the lion sniffed suspiciously at the biscuit, before lying down, taking the biscuit in his paws and nibbling at it.  Finding he liked the taste, he almost swallowed it whole.

      “Any more takers?”  Brunetta asked, “For if you don’t want them, Nanuq and I will eat the lot.”  Petra, silver and Leo tried the biscuits, Leo not liking them.  “how on earth am I meant to compete with you two,”  Samson asked, “Nanuq, and you Brunetta, you should be leaders of the community, not me and Simba.  We aren’t anything special!”

     “I beg to differ,” Brunetta replied.

      “How am I any good at anything!”  Samson mewed, “you bears are so cool!  You can use your paws for so much more than we cats can!”

      “You are special,” Nanuq replied, casually eating biscuits, “Brunetta and I will show you.  Or rather get Allie to show you.  You and Simba are handsome lions, Petra is a beautiful lioness, and all cats have their own beauty.  We bear though, we’re the clumsy ones, and we’ll prove it.”


Brunetta, Nanuq and the cats adjourned to Petra’s lie up, where they settled down with tea and in Brunetta’s case, hot chocolate.  Petra picked up a phone which she used to contact Allie.  Talking to the polar bear resulted in the big cats and bears watching footage of Samson catching up with Snowy in the garden and overpowering her after Tigger had called to all security teams to apprehend the white tigress during her time in the wilderness.

     “Watch Samson,” Brunetta said, “that’s classic lion behaviour, running down and catching his prey, bringing it down.  All right, kicking snowy doesn’t exactly fit the leonine behaviour patterns, but that can’t be helped.  Now we, Nanuq and I think Samson looked wonderful doing that.  We’re sorry it was Snowy he was running down, but the methods he used were really classic.  We think he was great!  Now Sammy,” she said, pointing to him, “look at yourself, isn’t that lion giving us a fantastic example of leonine behaviour?  Sammy, you are handsome and beautiful as you are.  Please, love us bears, but love yourself too, don’t wish your life away!  Samson looked at the footage, Allie running it over and over again, focusing on Samson rather than snowy.  Sammy appreciated what the bears were trying to do, but his dream was to be a bear, and if he could not be a bear, it was to be amerced in their culture as much as possible.

      “I want to stroke your paws Brunetta,” Samson mewed.  Brunetta smiled and rolled onto her side, waving all four paws theatrically.

      “Come on then,” Brunetta said.  Samson padded up to the female bear and took her left forepaw in both of his, stroking it carefully.  Brunetta smiled, closing her eyes and curling up comfortably.

      “Find my paws,” Brunetta said dreamily, “they’re there.”  Samson found all four of Brunetta’s paws, stroking each one in turn.  Samson felt Brunetta’s pleasure at his massage; the bear pressing her paws into Samson’s, rubbing his pads and toes with hers, the lion smiling with huge relief.  Brunetta was soon sleeping peacefully, Samson still stroking and massaging her paws.

       “I think we’d better leave them to it now,” fleur mewed.  Samson reluctantly left Brunetta and Nanuq, wondering if the polar and brown bears had more in common than just their love for peanut butter.

      “Fleur,” Samson asked, “do you think Brunetta and Nanuq are in love?”  Fleur flashed the lion a huge grin:

      “Of course they are!”  She said, “Didn’t you notice the way Brunetta looked at Nanuq?  In the pool, it wasn’t because of any of us Brunetta appeared, it was because of Nanuq!  She loves him and he her.”


Meanwhile, Brunetta lay on her rug where Samson had left her, Nanuq watching over her.  The male polar bear loved every inch of the female brown bear.  He didn’t mind her addiction to paw massage, for he was hooked too.  Nanuq lay down beside his mate, taking one of her soft warm paws in his.  Nanuq loved the fact Brunetta used oil on her paws, making them soft and very strokable.  Now, stroking her paws, Nanuq thought about the cuddly bear who was Brunetta.  All she wanted in life was to be hugged and have her paws stroked constantly.  She wanted to be snuggled up to Nanuq forever.  This he knew, for she’d told him, and she’d meant every word.  Nanuq loved Brunetta’s face, body and paws, the female brown bear loving it when he took any one of her paws in his and stroked it.


Brunetta, waking slightly, snuggled up to Nanuq as the larger polar bear curled his body round hers.  He was like a warm blanket to her, a gorgeously soft warm comforter.


Brunetta found herself falling asleep, despite her wish not to.  Nanuq accelerated this process by taking both her forepaws in his, his paws warming hers like the best pair of gloves anyone had ever invented.  Sighing contentedly, Brunetta gave up her struggle to stay awake and let herself drift away.


Petra, witnessing all, for the two bears seemed to have forgotten about her and Simba’s presence fetched a rug and threw it over the two sleeping bears.  Simba watched Brunetta and Nanuq, the young lion wondering if he’d ever have a chance to cuddle up like Brunetta and Nanuq were doing.  Petra caught her cub’s thoughts.

       “One day Simba,” she said, “one day.”

      “Have you ever had a mate?”  Simba asked.

     “Once,” Petra mewed, “though he wasn’t really in love with me, he was in love with Eohippus,” Petra replied.  Simba asked questions, Petra answering them as best she could.

       “A stranger tale I’ve never heard,” Simba mewed.

      “I wish it had never happened,” Petra mewed, “I was used, totally screwed over.  The worst of it is Simba, that if I hadn’t realised it and fought, I’d still be a puppet of another power.  Now I’m my own lioness.”  Petra lay down, Simba padding up to her and lying down beside her.  Petra hugged her cub tenderly.

      “You’re safe here,” Petra mewed, Simba purring contentedly.


Nanuq woke after several hours.  Opening his eyes, he couldn’t at first work out why he could see nothing.  Then, surfacing, he realised a rug was obscuring his vision.  Gently moving the rug so he could put his head out into the room, Nanuq saw Petra and Simba sleeping a little way off.  Nanuq gently extricated himself from the rug, careful not to wake Brunetta, who was deeply asleep.  Lifting the female brown bear’s forepaws one by one, Nanuq tucked the rug beneath them, the brown bear hardly stirring.  Brunetta lifted her head slightly while Nanuq tucked the rug beneath her paws, but laid it back down just as quick when he’d finished his work.  Tucking the rug around Brunetta, Nanuq carefully made sure it was covering her from nose to tail, ensuring a flap was left for ventilation.  Gently stroking the pads of her hind paws, Nanuq covered them with the rug, tucking it around Brunetta’s toes.  This done, the polar bear padded noiselessly away to find tea.  Finding the urn fill and ready for use, Nanuq poured tea into huge mugs and, walking on his hind legs, took them back to where Brunetta still lay wrapped in her rug cocoon.  Putting the tea down, Nanuq dropped gratefully onto all four paws, the sound waking Brunetta, who began to panic when she realised she was enclosed.  Screaming, she battled with the rug, Nanuq holding her tightly.  Brunetta calmed down after a while, Nanuq extracting her from the folds of the rug.

      “How did I get in there!”  Brunetta demanded.  Nanuq confessed to wrapping her up in the rug.

       “I wish you’d woken me to tell me,” Brunetta said.  Nanuq kissed her nose, apologising profusely for frightening her.

       “Don’t worry about it,” Brunetta said, spying the tea and peanut butter biscuits on the tray.

      “That’s something to shout about,” Brunetta said, waving a paw at the tea and biscuits.  Struggling free of the rug, Brunetta padded to the tea and biscuits, she and Nanuq soon getting stuck into them.  Loving every mouthful of their snack, the two bears demolished seven biscuits and two massive mugs of tea each.  Nanuq looked at his mate, thinking how beautiful she was.



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Martin Wilsher © 2007


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