It had been a year since Johnny had finally built up the courage to tell Lanie how he'd felt. Granted, it had been less of a romantic declaration and more of a vomiting of words, but he'd at least gotten it out there without scaring her away. It felt like so long ago. The sun was approaching the horizon and a gentle breeze was stirring the grass. The wind wasn't loud enough to mask the attempt at a stealthy approach behind him, however. Rather than give away the fact that it was quite easy to hear her, as she was practically stomping, Johnny let Lanie think she was the mighty huntress she thought she was.
He braced himself just in time for the impact.
"HAH! Gotcha!" Lanie sat triumphantly on Johnny's back for a moment before flopping over next to him. He let out a deep chuckle and rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, yeah. I'll get you back when you least expect it," he said with a smirk. Lanie smiled happily and rolled on to her back, puffing out her belly expectantly. With a heavy sigh, Johnny unsheathed his claws and gave her a few scratches. She giggled before rolling back on to her stomach. She leaned over, licked his cheek and stood up.
"Come with me, I want to show you something," she said softly. Without a word, Johnny quickly got up and followed her. It didn't take him long to realize she was leading him towards the jungle.
"The jungle?" Johnny asked curiously as the remaining daylight filtered through the first lines of jungle trees. "What do you have to show me in here?"
Lanie rolled her eyes, but said nothing, and continued padding along the spongy ground. As their surroundings darkened, Johnny drew closer to Lanie's side, keeping an eye out for any signs of danger. Lanie finally spoke up in almost a whisper,
"We're almost there." The ground became more difficult to walk on as the jungle thickened. Suddenly she stopped. Johnny looked around,
"What is it?" Lanie turned to him with a wide smile.
"We're not there just yet, but do you realize where we are?" With a furrowed brow, Johnny once again scanned his surroundings and frowned. He shook his head slowly, hoping not to get smacked in the face for apparently forgetting this location. Lanie laughed.
"Wow, you really suck at remembering places. I'll give you a hint." She leaned forward and pressed the top of her head to his chin. She then withdrew and took a few steps back. With a smirk she whispered "I love you, too." Johnny almost wanted to smack himself.
"Aw man, I really am an idiot... This is the spot, isn't it? It looks so different," he mumbled.
"Come on, you goof," Lanie said playfully. She pranced off and Johnny quickly stumbled after her. They suddenly broke through the trees and found themselves on a large grassy cliff overlooking the rest of the jungle. Johnny's mouth fell open in surprise. The sight was completely breathtaking. He turned to look at Lanie, who was already looking at him happily, clearly proud of her discovery.
"I came out here yesterday... I like to visit that spot because it always makes me feel happy," She paused a moment before continuing, "Usually I turn back around, but something compelled me to walk a little further, and that's when I found this place... It's beautiful, isn't it?" Something about the way the light was hitting her made Lanie look almost angelic. Johnny only barely managed a nod. Lanie's eyes narrowed and a purr rumbled from her voice as she spoke again, "You really have gone soft, haven't you?" Johnny blinked, quickly trying regain composure.
"I... um... Sorry, it's just... uh,"
Lanie sighed and finished her thought with a half-smile, "Anyway, I wanted to bring you out here... It's been a whole year, Johnny. I wanted it to be special."
Johnny decided words weren't working in his favor tonight, so he quickly wrapped one of his big paws around her back and pulled her close to him. The light was fading fast from the sky, leaving them in a deep purple haze.
"I love you so much, Lanie. I want you to know that... You know I suck when it comes to telling you how I feel, but I..."
"I know," Lanie said gently, "I love you, too. I couldn't imagine my life with anyone else." She pulled away, a coy smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. "We're going to have a good life together, you and me."
IT'S LANIE AND JOHNNY! I miss these guys. This is the last story I'm going to write for these two before the comic. And just a heads up, Lanie and Johnny aren't going to appear until Chapter 2, BUT Chapter 1 is basically just a backstory comic. I'm super excited, though. The script is about halfway done, and I've started sketching pages out. We'll see how quickly I can get these preliminary things done.
So yes, Johnny does go a bit soft. What did you expect?
He's still a brat even years later, but because he finally has someone to love who loves him back, he doesn't feel quite as strongly that he needs to prove himself or get attention, hence the soft side coming out more often.
Anyway, I thought it might be nice to break up the speed paints and ref sheets with a decent picture.
Plus, every lion couple needs their own "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" picture, right?
I hope you guys like this!!
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