"I'm leaving", Kovu said with a sigh, his head hanging low as he tried to break eye contact Kiara.
Her ears flattened, but this news didn't hit her as hard as it should have, she knew it was going to happen eventually. That's probably why she had let it get this far. So that she could pretend that everything was alright, that she would grow up to be queen and Kovu would take his place as King.
But no matter how hard they had fought to be together, for their prides to be one again.
There was nothing they could do to change the past.
"My pride and I will be leaving tomorrow at dawn, I don't expect you to come", his voice became raspy as he tried to hold back tears.
Kiara felt another twinge of guilt knowing that he had spoken the truth, with her father getting on in years it was almost time for her to assume the throne. She wanted to leave with Kovu, but to leave the pride that her father and his father, and all the ancestors before had worked to preserve, to leave the pride without a leader from the royal family would be like spitting at their memory.
She padded beside him silently before gently nuzzling his coarse mane, when she realized that he wouldn't respond, she pressed all the harder trying to ebb the flow of her tears.
"Please don't go," Kovu grimaced, feeling as if salt had been thrown into his already gaping wound.
His eyes flashed with grief and anger as all of his emotions were unleashed.
"Don't make it seem like it's all my decision!" He snarled through tears, pulling away from her gentle touch. "Don't make it seem like I want to go...," he added on in a defeated voice, his fury evaporating in an instant.
Kovu didn't mean to snap but the stress of the situation was getting to him. It would have been so much easier to leave without saying goodbye, she still would have cried...but at least he wouldn't have been there to see them.
"Kovu...if you stay and become King, they will accept you." She tried to reason but she knew it was futile.
No one would accept him as King is he took over the throne, everyone would only see it as Scar's prophecy come true. Even without Scar's blood running through his veins they would still see it as the fallen tyrant's way of having his bloodline carry on, of having one of his successor's rule.
He was constantly harassed throughout the kingdom, being forced to eat last and driven from the watering holes by the hippos.
She couldn't change the hierarchy of the pride, the lionesses growling that he had to earn his place and not take it by force. Leaving Kovu to pick his meat from already chewed bones, his heart breaking at being compared to his adoptive father no matter how hard he tried to change himself. When Kiara would confront the hefty herbivores as they wallowed in the water, they would sneeringly reply that they thought that he was a rogue.
If it was just Kovu, he would have been able to put his pride before himself. Sacrificing his well-being for the lionesses that were under his care after his mother's untimely death but it wasn't just him.
The Outlanders were left to hunt for the pride, the others claiming that they were on scouting missions when they were only lazing about the area When a dispute erupted, Simba was quick to ask for the Pridlander's side of the story first.
All of this and more led up to this night.
Kiara's rough tongue caught the tear that slid down his cheek, her glistening eyes catching his own.
She was in a turmoil of her own, she had news that she had to tell him. Kiara had hoped that the differences between the two prides would soon fade and give her the opportunity that she needed, but it didn't happen and now she was here.
Kiara let the statement drop, her ears flattening as her tears began falling full force. Kovu embraced her telling her that she would be okay, that everything would be alright, just like she had been telling him for the past few months.
It only made it that much harder to leave.