(...) The old lioness's snout trembled as she tried to smell the young male's scent across the savannah. Nala's tired paws insisted on looking for him, trying to bring him back to the kingdom to help her pregnant daughter. The stars lit up the heavens and she prayed to the Kings of the Past for success in her mission.
She soon spotted who she was looking for. Kovu seemed disoriented but impatient; she could tell by the sound of his paws. Breathing deeply, combining determination and fear, she reached for him and in her harsh voice she called out to the outlander:
"Kovu, you need to come back. Please." She stared at him so desperately that he was forced to look away. "We need you, Kovu. Your mate Kiara needs you."
When he heard the name of his beloved, he lowered his head, sighing as he felt a strong stab in his chest. He turned his head slowly to look at the old queen.
"Listen, I can't go back", he said in a remarkable mixture of sadness, guilt and impatience. "Not while there's still darkness in my heart, not while there's still trauma plaguing my mind. I can't take it out on her, not on the kingdom as a whole. Please, Queen Nala... You have to understand."
"I-I can help! We can help you. We'll take care of you, we can..." She stuttered in dismay. She felt somehow that it would be useless, and she understood the dark lion's point of view in front of her. But in her kingdom, there was a disconsolate young lioness who mourned the loss of her father and her mate. Nala herself, the queen, mourned Simba's death at every moment and tried to look strong in front of her daughter so that she would not succumb to sorrow. Hope had died as soon as Kovu had left the kingdom and Simba had been found dead.
As if reading her thoughts, Kovu released his lament in a heavy voice, his mind flying somewhere far away.
"I too have my dead to mourn, my ghosts to carry on my back. I saw my father being devoured alive when I was still a cub. I saw my brother surrendering to the pain of having his bones crushed by your king. I saw my mother drowning not only in water but in the hatred she had been feeding inside herself all these years. I have my darkness too. I am becoming like him," he paused. No name needed to be said. The mood of conversation weighed in the shadow of sadness and death. "I cannot bring it to them. You have to be the light in her darkness, Queen Nala. You have to bring that hope to them", he gazed at the queen. A wave of mutual understanding emerged between the two and he completed:
"She'll find love again. She'll be happy again, My Queen. But not with me. With these words, we will part ways. Perhaps one day we will see each other again, if one day I recover and if it is the will of the Kings. But for now..."
She agreed to a nod. He, too, staring at the horizon filled with the soft moonlight. Kovu began to walk again, without direction, his heart a little lighter as he shared his feelings. And old Queen Nala, in her tired breath, returned to her home, thinking about the conversation she had had with him.