Iron on the Outside, Father Within @bluerowley
The Flood

So, family movie night was Tarzan a couple weeks ago and I spent most of the movie looking up fanfiction on the topic, but could not find the kind I was looking for. I decided to write my own, so this story is really for my own amusement and to escape from some mild writer's block, but I hope any Tarzan fans enjoy it as well! Short first chapter, but they will get longer as I explore this relationship. Thanks for reading.

Disclaimer: Do not own Tarzan

Tarzan climbed into Kala's lap and listened to the steady thump of her heart in her chest.

"Your heart," he said, looking up at his mother.

"See? We're exactly the same," Kala said, hugging her five-year-old child. She sighed sadly. "Kerchak just can't see that."

Tarzan frowned, then a thought hit him, and he climbed up his mother's shoulder. "I'll make him see it," he said, beating his hands against his chest. "I'll be the best ape ever."

"Oh, I bet you will," Kala smiled, grabbing her son and tickling him, earning loud squeals.

Two weeks later:

Rain storms terrorized the jungle for days. Kerchak had to lead his family to higher and safer grounds, so up the mountains they went. He occasionally looked back to check on everyone, mostly the mothers and their young. He was unsurprised to see Tarzan bringing up the rear. He huffed but turned back to see where they were heading.

It wasn't that he hated Tarzan, the child was a child after all. He took pity on the baby when he first saw him, and on Kala who had still been mourning the loss of their own infant. So he had allowed the child to stay, seeing how their were no other humans or potential threats at the time.

But now Tarzan was growing, and his differences could endanger the family, especially should he discover the truth about what he was. Why Kala could not see that was beyond him. Perhaps she was still grieving, he himself mourned from time to time. That, or she was just head over heels for her replacement son. Kerchak snorted in distaste at the thought.

They were coming across a steeper part of the hill, and the steady rain made this section very slippery.

"Everyone be careful," Kerchak announced. "All young are to stay with an adult while we cross here."

Kerchak dug his heels and palms into the ground for a good grip, ready to ensure everyone crossed safely. He watched as many mothers with their young clinging to their backs passed him, some slipping and sliding slightly. Kerchak gave them a helpful push to the sturdier section of the mountain when they slid into him. He urged everyone to take their time crossing for their own safety. The last few apes were halfway across, including Terk, Terk's mother, and Kala and Tarzan, when a loud roaring sound thundered from above them.

Kerchak and the apes gasped as they looked up.

Flood waters came pouring over the mountain, fast and bold, taking down trees and pushing boulders. Kerchak could only leap for safety when the waters collided with the unlucky apes who could not make the leap.

Kerchak eyes widened as he searched for any struggle in the water. He spotted Terk's mother and another female ape manage to drag themselves out of the water to safety, but they ran alongside the water, calling to their children. Kerchak roared and rushed back into the water, despite his inability to swim well. He forced himself through the water, plowing towards Terk and Kala, who had managed to reach each other in the crashing waters. With Terk clinging to Kala and Kala clinging to him, Kerchak used all his strength to get them back to dry land, pushing them out of the water without exiting.

Terk slid off Kala's back, running to her mother, while Kala ran down the hill, following the flood.

"Tarzan!" she cried.

Kerchak allowed the forceful water to take him down the hill toward the screaming infant and Tarzan, who was struggling to keep his head above water. Pushing off of rocks and logs he encountered along the way, Kerchak came closer and closer to the two kids in the water. His eyes widened at the cliff they were headed for. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Kala ready to jump in after Tarzan, and he roared at her to stop her foolish action. He didn't have time for words now.

With a mighty push off a rock his feet collided with, he managed to propel himself to the young infant first, throwing him to the waiting mother who had also chased the rushing waters.

"Tarzan!" Kala yelled. "Hold on!"

Kerchak knew he had to at least try and save the hairless ape. The child was a part of his troop after all. Paddling to the child, he reached out a hand for the boy, Tarzan reaching out a hand for him. They were so close to each other and the edge of the cliff.

"Kerchak, Tarzan! No!" Kala cried as the two went over the cliff.

As the water swept them over the edge, Kerchak managed to grab Tarzan's arm and bring the boy to his chest. He turned himself in the air so his back would impact with the water, and he struck the surface with such force that Tarzan was thrown out of his arms.

Sinking, Kerchak took a moment to recover before struggling for the surface and gulping for air. He swung his head around, disoriented by the waves crashing around him in the river. He heard Tarzan's cries for help and followed them. He spotted the child clinging to a log in the water and pushed himself toward the boy.

Tarzan readily reached for Kerchak, clinging to the silverback's shoulder, Kerchak using a hand to keep him there. The great ape tried to direct himself to the surface, but the river was too deep, and he was waning from all the effort he had put out to save everyone. He was dizzy and breathing rapidly, his heart pounding in his ears. He couldn't keep this up much longer.

Against his will, he felt his eyes closing and the world around him darkening.

He awoke miraculously washed along the bank of the river. And somehow, Tarzan had managed to cling to his shoulder through it all. Rolling off his back and gently lowering the boy to the ground, Kerchak shook himself off before he studied the unconscious boy below him. He sniffed him and grunted. Had he truly gone through all that for nothing? Was Tarzan . . .?

The child coughed, spluttering up some water. Kerchak sighed. The boy was fine.

Stepping over the small body, Kerchak surveyed his surroundings, glad that the rain had stopped for now. Even in all his years, he had never been so far away from home. He was far out of his territory, but he instinctively knew where he had to go. He had a long journey ahead of him. It might take him up to a week just to get back to the troop, as long as he had no drawbacks. And he would have to return to them quickly, they would be in constant danger without him to protect or lead them.

He was about to set off when he remembered one minor detail.


Growling, he looked back at the boy, who was staring out at the water. The boy would only slow him down. He debated leaving the child to fend for himself – yes, Tarzan would try to keep up with Kerchak, but he would eventually fall further and further behind until he was far out of sight. Kerchak could always say he lost the hairless ape in the waters.

Sighing, Kerchak knew Kala would never forgive him if he did not return with Tarzan safe and sound. And Kerchak would feel guilty for lying to her. Tarzan was alive, so he would have to deliver the nuisance alive to Kala.

"Tarzan," Kerchak called to the boy, "unless you wish to stay here, you will follow me and keep up with me."

"Yes, Kerchak," Tarzan said, shuffling over in his ape-like fashion.

Kerchak nodded once, his face showing nothing but disapproval for the boy. He turned and walked into the trees, leading the small boy into the forest. Tarzan did his best to try and stay at the gorilla's side, but he had to run often to catch up and he was growing tired fast. Kerchak tried to ignore him.

"If you cannot keep up," Kerchak snapped, "I will leave you behind."

Tarzan gasped dramatically but the words seemed to be motivational enough. Tarzan did his best to keep right at Kerchak's heel. But after a couple hours, the rain began to fall again, and night came fast. Tarzan was struggling now, lagging a few paces behind Kerchak.

Noises of the night started echoing, the chirps of crickets, the screams of night birds, the snarls of leopards. Kerchak paused, deciding they both had had enough for one day. Finding a large tree, Kerchak climbed up it and began pulling down leaves to make a nest for himself.

Scuffing and grunting sounds caught his attention. He glanced down at Tarzan trying his best to get up the large trunk. With no lower branches to aid him, the boy just kept sliding down.

Rolling his eyes, Kerchak reached down and snatched Tarzan by an arm, pulling the boy up to the nest he had created. He figured the boy should stay on the same level as himself anyway. Just in case any predators get any ideas.

"Keep to your side," Kerchak instructed.

Tarzan frowned, but Kerchak turned and laid down facing away from the boy. While he took up most of the nest, the boy was small enough to have a tiny bit of space for himself. Kerchak was not about to cuddle the boy as Kala did. He heard Tarzan lie down and adjust some leaves, most likely wrapping them around himself. He took in a deep breath and closed his eyes.

They would have to get up bright and early to continue their journey back to the troop.

And Tarzan better learn to keep up fast.

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