He’d been spending a lot of time on his own lately, which couldn’t be helped. Nose stuck in a book or fingers hastily typing out some kind of formula or concept you were sure you wouldn’t understand even if he tried to explain it in the simplest of terms, it was almost like he was in a trance. When Lotor set his mind to something, especially anything involving his research, it was pretty much impossible to get him to step away for any meaningful length of time. It made you a little lonely, and sometimes you wished you could present him with the knowledge he was seeking so desperately, just like that. It would surely be a weight off his mind, a triumph he was more than worthy enough to claim.
But instead, you left him to his devices; to his thinking, his ruminating, his experimenting. At times like this, even Kova felt like he was being shunned from his owner’s side. He’d prowl the ship like a starving beast, although the thing he happened to be starving of was attention, and he was keen to find a free lap or shoulder to rest on. On most other occasions he would have taken comfort in the person who played the role of his secondary master, Narti, but she was currently out on a mission with the other generals. With all of the regular residents of the ship’s hollow hull absent, the only real options for companionship in this trying time of solitude were the two of you.
You were lounging in your quarters, going over one of the battle strategies Lotor had previously outlined for you. Studying them yourself didn’t serve a very practical purpose, but you couldn’t help finding his notes and tactics fascinating. So intricate and detailed, yet easy to understand; if his life had turned out differently, perhaps he would have pursued a successful career as a professor or scientist. You weren’t usually keen on fighting, and he was far from comfortable with the idea of allowing you to risk your life in the midst of the various skirmishes he participated in. Putting you in harm’s way was the last thing he wanted, a nightmare that periodically haunted his sleep.
But keeping you by his side during such hectic ordeals was another matter entirely—it was invigorating, and comforting, and inspiring to be in your presence. You were the fuel that kept him focused, the encouragement he needed to push through the chaotic and constantly shifting tides of battle. Sometimes a simple look was all it took to fill him with the reassurance he needed, while other situations called for the gentle interlocking of fingers or the soft sensation of lips pressing against a cheek. Of course, any instance of affection you gave him he made sure to return to you tenfold, even if it had to wait until you were both able to retire to your rooms. It wasn’t exactly a secret that you usually spent your time in his chambers, or that he made a habit of inviting you to do so. But it also wasn’t the generals’ job to gossip about the current status of the prince’s relationship with you, even if they couldn’t help snickering amongst themselves every now and again.
“What’s wrong Kova, are you looking for someone to play with?” The aloof feline was observing you from the doorway; you caught sight of his movement just before he could retreat.
Rising from your seat, you put the document you’d been examining away and crouched down. Kova was still eying you a tad warily, unsure if it was wise or safe to look away from you for even a moment. You’d managed to pet him a few times, but only when he was at Lotor’s side. Right now, the only side that was really available for him to occupy was yours. What was it going to take to earn this distrusting kitty’s approval?
You tried cooing, sweet talking, gesturing as if you had a toy or treat to give him. No matter what you tried, it seemed that Kova just wasn’t interested in budging. With a dejected sigh you plopped to the ground, crossing your legs and shifting your thoughts in a more contemplative direction. What sorts of things had you not tried yet, and were there any treats on board you could use to appease the beast? You couldn’t remember if Lotor kept any, or if Kova even liked them…and you couldn’t help thinking it was a little sad that this was the height of the kind of conflict you’d be facing today. Slow days were nice, but they were nicer when you got to spend them in the grip of a certain purple prince’s arms…
His voice startled you, snapping you out of the daydream you’d unintentionally drifted into. That was a little disappointing, since it had been such a pleasant one, but you supposed you could let it slide when it had been replaced by the real thing. Hair pulled back in a rare ponytail and magnifying lenses resting on the crown of his head, you wondered how he could look so distinguished yet so disheveled at the same time. You were about to hop to your feet when you realized there was an unfamiliar weight on your lap. Feeling as if your focus was being whiplashed left and right, you glanced down to find that the object of your previous coaxing had apparently succumbed while you were distracted.
“Well, if this isn’t a rare sight.” Lotor leaned against doorway, a pleased smile gracing his lips. “I never thought I’d see the day Kova would willingly curl up in someone else’s lap.”
“What are you talking about? He hangs around you and Narti all the time. And he never seems bothered when the other generals pet him or feed him.”
“There are a few details about those particular situations you should take into consideration,” he continued as he approached. “One, he’s a cat, it’s not like him to reject any offering of food no matter which hand it’s coming from. Two, the generals have been around much longer than you have, so he’s had plenty of time to get used to them, or at least learn how to tolerate them. And three, although he allows them to pet him and elects to spend a majority of his time around Narti, it’s still rare for him to be the one to make the first move when it comes to affectionate actions like this. So basically what I’m saying is that it seems he’s genuinely warmed up to you, and gaining his approval is no small feat.”
“It’s not like I did anything to impress him intentionally,” you mumbled, discreetly wringing your hands in response to this unanticipated flattery. “I just figured he was lonely, and being lonely together is usually better than being lonely alone.”
“I’m sorry for being so distant lately,” the prince changed the subject abruptly, taking a seat beside you in a position that seemed less than appropriate for someone of his status. “I get so absorbed in my work sometimes, I don’t realize just how neglectful I end up being to everything—and everyone—else.”
“What, no, you don’t need to apologize!” You waved your hands in disagreement, tone turning remorseful. “I didn’t say that to make you feel bad or anything, I just—”
“I’ve been missing you, too, you know,” he uttered his confession with that alluring lilt you loved, his words melting into your ears like honey.
You felt the heat rise in your cheeks and stuttered helplessly, trying to organize your thoughts in order to produce some semblance of a coherent response. His gaze was soft, and he drew you against him without warning, settling you in his lap and tucking you against his chest. You’d missed being held like this, being close to him like this, feeling his warmth and appreciating his scent; right now, the latter was overwhelmed by the strong aromas of the lab, but mixed with the natural smell of his skin, you supposed it wasn’t so bad. You were so tempted to close your eyes and just drift to sleep right here, some part of your mind taking note of the fact that Kova was still quite contently curled up against you. With one hand Lotor stroked your hair, while the other tended to the cat’s thin fur, and for just a moment you allowed yourself to indulge in this temporary paradise.
“My two favorite people in the world.” You perked up a bit at the prince’s heartfelt statement. “I promise once I’ve finished my current project, I’ll make up for all the time I’ve left you unattended.”
“I hope you know I don’t mind that you’re busy,” you spoke up, voice little more than a whisper. “Knowing you’re doing something you love, something that’s so important to you…I’m happy for you. I don’t want you to give that kind of stuff up, your personal projects or your official duties, for me. If I have to, I’ll wait for you forever.”
He buried his face in your hair now, taking a deep breath, arms tightening around you just slightly. “I don’t want to make you wait alone. I’d rather spend that forever with you.”
They were exaggerated words, but you knew he meant them. Tender sentiments and deeply rooted love; neither of you would ever let anything take you from the other’s side. If Kova was warming up to you, maybe that was a good sign. A sign that you were meant to stay here, that you were meant to love this man, and have him love you in return. Being the object of the prince’s affections seemed like a dream come true, but being able to shower him in your love was an equal half of that dream. Letting your eyes droop shut, you concentrated on the sound of his breathing, and the soft purr vibrating from the animal that was still nestled snugly in your lap. These were two of your favorite people in the whole universe, too, and you’d never stop being grateful you found them…or perhaps more accurately, that they’d found you.