SunRise19, thanks for your review too - I'm glad the fact that Simba died, didn't make you stop reading the story :)

MorpheusDreamer, you've been given the most interesting reviews on this story - I've loved to read them! I agree, it may not be the happiest of all stories, but it seemed right for this one :)

I'm Luki, it actually made you cry? See... never knew that would happen in a story like this. I hope you'll like this last chapter...

Everyone - thanks so much for ALL the reviews I've gotten through this story! They really helped me write more, and get ideas for the next chapter. But this... this is the last chapter of them all, at least in this story. I am glad (most of) you enjoyed it, I certainly have enjoyed writing it. And I don't think it's the last you'll hear from me on TLK front. I'll probably return to Scar again.

of course, please review this one too... and thanks for all the reviews so far, once again. Atrice


Part 19 - The next King

The day was warm, and Kovu had placed himself below a tree near the Pride Rock. He didn't care much about the heat though, or the shade for that matter. His mate was the queen, and therefore he was the king – but he didn't feel it like that. He was just the king, because he had chosen her as his mate; or because she chose him. That was the only reason, and he had all the rights a king always had; he could, if he wanted to, mate with every female in the pride. Especially because only a few of them were his siblings. But he didn't want that.

"Kovu? You should get up…" a voice asked and he looked up.

"Why? There's no point…" Kovu said gloomily to Nala, who had entered his shadow.

"Of course there is… and you should take care of your son, give him a tour of the Pridelands." Nala tried, but he rolled onto the other side.

"It may be my blood, but he is not my son!" he said, trying to sound mad – but the sorrow was still too close. The sorrow that his mate had come to love someone else, and had named their only son after that other lion.

"Oh Kovu, won't you please get over it? You're just like… like Simba used to be!" the former queen said – she still had a bit of a hard time speaking the name out loud, but she had to get over it too. They all had, and she seemed to be the only one trying to.

"She has to come to me… and tell me she loves me!" Kovu said, and his voice trembled.

"She does love you… give her time. It has also been a hard time for her." Nala tried and pushed to Kovu, who roared at her.

"Don't… don't try, please." Kovu looked down, a bit uncomfortable with the fact that he just roared at the former queen. Who only tried to help him. Nala sighed and left him alone again, and Kovu lay there looking across the savannah. Did Kiara really still love him?

x-----x-----x-----x-----x-----x

Kiara lay on Pride Rock and starred over the savannah too. She felt lonely, she longed for someone to come and nestle against her. Suddenly she felt something bump into her from behind, and looked around with a smile.

"You again… shouldn't you be sleeping, like your sisters?" she asked the little male cub, who now crawled over her to her other side.

"Couldn't… wow, the view from here!" he said and looked over the savannah.

"And one day, it's all yours." Kiara said with a smile, and lifted him up and began to wash him with her tongue.

"Mom!" he tried but smiled as she tickled his stomach a bit. She was so concentrated on the cub, that she didn't notice the male lion behind her, before he stood very close. Kiara glanced around with a startle, and looked directly into Kovu's eyes. Suddenly it wasn't all that much fun anymore, and she looked down. She knew how he felt, that he was sad that she had admitted that she loved Scar just before he left. But it was the truth… the cub also looked at Kovu. Kiara thought about it once again – how all 3 of them, Nala, Kovu and Kiara, had taken one cub each when they headed back for Pride Rock – and how Kovu had just left Kiara with the cubs, hadn't given them a second glance or seemed happy about them.

"Kovu…" she whispered, and Kovu lowered his head to her height.

"Kiara… let's try to get on?" he said to her, and she nodded with a smile.

"Do you think we can make it work again?" Kiara asked him, feeling a tear in the corner of her eye.

"We are one – don't you remember? Love will find a way… and I need to get to know this little guy." Kovu said with a smile, as their son moved away from his mother towards what was a very large lion to him.

"Love will find a way… Scar, this is your father, Kovu – he's the king… what you will be one day." Kiara explained to the little one.

"Will I get such a mane too one day?" he asked and Kovu sent him a friendly smile.

"I am almost sure yours will be darker." Kovu answered the cub, who beamed up in a huge grin. Kiara stood up and rubbed her head against Kovu's, who returned the warm gesture to her.

"So… you forgive me?" Kiara asked him while they stood close.

"I love you, Kiara… you hurt me, and I will never forget what happened – but I forgive you. You are my only mate, as I am yours." Kovu said and she acquiesced. She had loved Kovu all along, be he obviously needed time to think about all that had happened. Kiara was happy that he had returned.

"Forgive, but not forget… that is how I feel too." She said and felt someone between her legs, purring. Their son stood between them.

"Are you in love?" he asked, like only children can ask. Kiara smiled to him and then to Kovu.

"I am." She said, and the little Scar moved away from his parents.

"Ew…" he said with a grin.

"Come… I'll show you the Pridelands – it's a male-thing." Kovu said to the cub, and sent Kiara a wink with the eye- began to walk. He was happy that he and Kiara would be able to live together again. He now understood, that it was a different love she had felt for the late Scar – and that it would never be the love, that she felt for himself. They were one.

Kovu saw a little 'hairball' speed past him, and the cub stood ready to go down onto the grass and see the Pridelands. The next king, whose name would be Scar; the next king, every inch of him.

x--x--x THE END x--x--x

- finished the 11/10 2005, by Atrice -