The thing was that Zira, in her anger and chosen blindness in favour of her hate, had forgotten how pride´s worked. She had become accustomed to being the one in charge as there was no King in the outlands, at least not really, because Kovu had been too young for most of the time and Nuka was not a dominant male; not fit to rule.
Kovu was still too young. That´s why Simba had accepted him in his pride instead of killing him; it was in the correct age to be incorporated to the pride and not attract the wrong attention from the King even when Simba obviously mistrust him.
He had grown a little since meeting Kiara again. It was something natural when you found your mate or that was what Zira had told him. That he would be ready to rule once he killed Simba and mated Kiara.
Which had been the plan.
But after getting to know Kiara…he had fallen in love with her. With her smile, as well as her laugh, her energy and optimism. In how she could make him relax and have fun for the first time in his life.
Kovu had realised he couldn’t kill Simba when he stared at Kiara´s eyes and found himself thinking that he wanted to see those beautiful eyes for the rest of his life.
He wanted to be able to belong in this pride.
That´s why he was truly happy and full of hope when Simba said he wanted to talk. He thought he may stand a chance to fulfil his dream to be happy along Kiara and the rest of the pride.
And why his heart broke when his mother and siblings appeared.
…he hadn’t meant to forget about them. About what was at stake with this. How the pride was slowly dying of hunger and how they wouldn´t make it if he didn’t take over the pride-lands.
This was the chance they were waiting for…but. He couldn´t do it. Not after hearing exactly what had Scar done to get the throne; killing one´s brother…that was something Kovu could not even imagine. He loved Nuka and Vitani. The only thing he wished for them was happiness.
Same happiness that they had been refused by their own mother all their lives.
Taking the decision was easy enough once Zira gave the order of attack.
“Stop!” He roared, tackling Nuka, the other male in his pride to make his point clearer when his brother moved too close to Simba for Kovu´s comfort. His older brother summited easily enough, his instants making sure of it. As he knew that he would not win in a fight against Kovu.
He then snapped to his sister, Vitani. Pouring his green eyes on her red ones, letting her see how serious he was about this. She had frozen where she was, doubting to what order follow. The other lioness didn’t have that issue. They stopped dead on their tracks when they heard his roar.
The thing was that Zira, in her anger and chosen blindness in favour of her hate, had forgotten how pride´s worked. She had become accustomed to being the one in charge as there was no King in the outlands…
But, she had indoctrinated, in all of their minds that Kovu was the King of their pride.
His word was law for them.
The thing was that before this, Kovu´s word was an echo of what Zira wanted.
“Don´t move.” He growled in warning, just to be on the sure side of things. Before turning to Simba, a heartbroken expression on his face. “I´m sorry.” And he truly was.
“Kovu!” Zira snarled at him, furious. Getting close to him, but not to Simba as his mother was not stupid. She knew that she would not be able to win against the King alone. “How dare you to betray us? Betray Scar?!”
“He was a monster!” Kovu answered, his voice cracking. Because Scar may not be his father biologically but he was the ideal he had worked all his life to archive and it was a terrible thing to discover just what he had been in reality. A murderer. A monster.
Zira´s anger should have not taken him by surprise, but it did.
Because even when his mother had always been rough with them, never actually tried to hurt them; Nuka and Vitani were Scar´s sons. He was Scar´s heir. And he had been sure that she loved them, even if it was on her very unique way.
He stumbled a little for the force of the impact. The sharp pain on the right side of his face makes him hiss and take a step back; his shock at the attack showing in how slow he reacted. His mother would have torn his throat apart had not Simba tackled her. Saving his life.
“Kovu!” Vitani was at his side in the next instant, supporting him. His lioness were growling, four spiked and violent urges palpable on the air, but hesitating to actually do something since their King had told them to not move.
Zira escaped, Nuka had pushed Simba off her before following her trail. Simba didn’t follow and instead he turned so he could face Kovu, his eyes were pitying were he took in the open wound in the youngest lion´s face. Four parallel lines running across his eye and cheek.
They were deep. It would probably leave a mark that would stay there for the rest of his life.
The lioness growled at him when he steps close to Kovu, but the youngest male shook his head once, stepping away from Vitani. Facing him; covering his sister with his body. It was not an aggressive stance and was this (and everything that happened before) that allowed Simba to decide that Nala had been right.
Kovu wasn’t Scar.
He wasn´t bad.
And decided to give him another chance. And with him, the pride that followed him.
He licked the wound, so it would close and heal faster. As well as a show of affection. So it wasn´t a surprise that it took them all back.
“Come on,” He started, his voice soft. “Let´s go home.”
Kovu and Vitani blinked in unison. The jaws of the lioness were opened in shock. And the only reason Kovu and Vitani didn’t do the same after hearing those words was ´cause they had been trained better than that.
“Home?” Kovu asked hopefully.
“Yeah,” Simba said, as he started walking to the pride rock. Showing his trust in Kovu and the others as he showed them his back. It was a dangerous move, but one that convened all he wanted to say. “Home.”
This was everything they had wanted, truly. –To return home. – And once Kovu followed Simba, after rubbing his muzzle to Vitani´s to comfort her, all of them followed as well.