At the end of the day, Xev still knew exactly where to find him. All she had to do was find the one place everyone else wasn't, and that was where Kai would be. It was the galley this time, sitting on one of the fleshy stools and picking at a bowl full of the Lexx's brand of rations.
"We've got actual supplies now, you know," she said. "You don't have to eat that if you don't want to."
She didn't hesitate when walking into the room and taking a seat opposite him at the rations table. Kai never said anything, but he seemed annoyed by Stan's new habit of walking in wide circles around him.
Kai shook his head. "I wanted to try it on purpose," he replied quietly. "Everyone we've ever come across complained about how bad it is. I was never able to experience it for myself until now."
"And how's that going?"
Kai toyed with the spoon, scooping some of the green substance up just to let it trickle back in. "All right, except I believe I requested more than my stomach is accustomed to. I'm not sure I like the consistency."
She leaned forward onto one elbow, resting her chin on her hand. "Yeah, well if you change your mind and decide you want something more substantial, let me know. Are you feeling all right?"
It was a question she didn't want to ask since Kai had been hearing it every minute since he came back, but knew she needed to. While he was still undoubtedly Kai, it felt as if there were a lot he wasn't saying.
He continued to play with his food, eyes coming up to stare into hers. She'd begun labeling Kai's expressions long ago – this was just Intense Stare # 36. That never changed. "Define feeling," he deadpanned.
"Are you more alive?"
He rewarded her with Head Tilt #4. "Biologically speaking, I am indeed alive. My body and living organs were reconstituted and Prince restored my consciousness. However, I'm beginning to think I was dead for so long that I no longer remember how to behave otherwise."
Xev felt like slamming her own head into the table – it would figure, even though she wasn't about to tell Kai that. He probably already knew, seeing as it never took him long to figure her out. "Prince didn't happen to tell you why he did this, did he?" she asked warily.
He hummed an affirmation around the spoon. "He claimed it had something to do with how boring things had gotten in my absence. Apparently, he's had little opportunity to find entertainment elsewhere."
"Kai, that's horrible."
"He is Prince."
She rolled her eyes, knowing that was an acceptable answer as any. The entire conversation was making her fidget in her seat and play with her hair, but she wasn't any closer to the answers she was looking for. She noticed the blonde strand she had twisted around her fingers and stopped immediately in aggravation.
"So if you don't remember how to be alive, why do you behave the way you do?" she asked. "You still come after us when we're in trouble, you still fight with Vlad. You can't tell me you don't want anything because you came in here to get something to eat all by yourself."
"I come after you because more often than not, you and Stanley require me to lest something awful happen – I remember that. As for everything else, it's a process. I don't remember what my preferences are because I didn't have any for six-thousand years. I'm simply trying to re-establish them."
"Vlad doesn't seem to be having that problem."
"Though you will be hard-pressed to get her to share with you, I assure you Vlad is having problems of her own. Like me, her single-mindedness stems from operating as such for so long. I hope that in time, she will realize that there is no need for her to destroy everything for destruction's sake. Until then, it's best we deal with her accordingly. Keep her away from Stanley."
"You'll kill her?"
Kai shrugged. "If it comes to that. Though, we've always got something worse to preoccupy ourselves with in the meantime. You and Stanley still seem to have a way of putting yourselves in danger."
It was tiny, but she could see a very brief and very faint smirk tugging at the corners of his mouth. She'd possibly only seen it twice before and Xev couldn't help smiling back just a little bit.
"But what about you? Isn't there anything that you hope for? Just for yourself?"
"You of all people should know that I've never carried much hope for myself," he replied quietly, stabbing his spoon into the green muck. "But I'm…as you would put it, working on it."
He wouldn't meet her eyes, which was something Kai just didn't do. Or maybe he did now – it was still somewhat confusing.
"So…you don't wish you were still dead?" she asked.
"I do not," he replied noncommittally.
He chose then to look up, and if Xev didn't know any better, he actually looked intrinsically curious. It was a good look for him even though he still didn't blink as much as she was used to seeing other people do. "Why? Is this something you and Stanley were concerned over?"
She didn't really want to tell him so, and for a moment she sort of wished Stan were present instead of on the bridge so he could give Kai a resounding yes. Instead, she just smiled sheepishly. "You seemed sad," she said quietly. "Like you were only here because you had no other choice."
"I suppose I am," said Kai. "Sad, that is, though it has nothing to do with you or Stan. I waited a long time for true death. To have it taken away from me is something of an unpleasant sensation, though it isn't without its benefits. I'm not about to reverse what I was given. My place is here for certain. In that respect, there is still no other choice I would make."
Xev beamed, knowing she didn't have to ask if he meant that. It took her back to a time of planets about to supernova and prophecies whose heroes had needed nudging in the right direction. "That's a relief," she said, grinning nervously. "Because without you, Stan and I would have a hell of a time keeping Vlad under control. Apparently, she just ripped the tongue out of one of the toilets."
"No, I did that," said Kai.
She laughed, leaning forward on the table. "You what? Why would you…?"
"Trust me, it's better that way," he said quickly. "There are alternative means to cleaning yourself that are not as invasive in nature."
His awkward admission had her coming around to his side of the table to cup the back of his head and place a firm kiss on his forehead, her laughter echoing off the fleshy chamber. The fact that he didn't squirm away nor respond was strangely comforting in that it was still utterly Kai.
"It's good to have you back," she said finally, seating herself on the tabletop and dipped two fingers into his bowl.
She could never be sure, but if she read it correctly, his eyes fell on her fingers as she sucked them into her mouth and remained glued there for a few seconds longer than they normally would. With a little bit of hope, Xev gladly hummed around those fingers and milked it for all it was worth.
After all, he was only working on it.