"If you think this is good, then you'll adore some gazelle." Niani laughs and continues to eat. Once satisfied, she looks over his form and growls in feign annoyance. "You're still feathery. Lemme know when you're done, so I can groom you."
Harufu nodded, but kept on eating for a while. "My parents were always dismayed at my appetite. I could eat enough for four leopards. Seems I eat a lot for lions if that's all your having," he said, then stepped back, licking his muzzle. "You are going to eat more, right? You must be twice the size of my mother but you only ate as much as her." Then he lay down to be groomed.
"Don't worry, you eat a good amount for a lion. I just prefer to eat in parts and not get full all at once. A good meal make you sleepy, don't change know?" Niani giggles, then kneels next to Harufu, using her paws to gently pin him down. "Try not to squirm." She warns playfully and begins to lick away the dirt and feathers, using her teeth on occasion to gently pull a tough one free.
"Eheh, ah, ow," he said, when she nipped at something near his neck. "Is that how you keep yourself so thin? By only eating a little and regularly? Personally I would love to kill something big and eat until I pass out. Ow... no claws, please!" He winced, but in actual fact he was enjoying her attention. "But only because most things I kill in the Congo are tiny anyway. Getting a full meal is hard there."
Niani stops grooming and gives him a once over. "All done. And things are different out here than in the Congo. Believe it or not, us lionesses do most of the hunting, while the lions don't. So, I kinda have to stay in shape if we wanna eat." Then, she stands and streches. "What shall we do now?"
Harufu flipped up and gave himself a look-over. "Thanks," he said. "I haven't had a good grooming for years. I feel like I might actually look respectable now." He grinned. "Well... we've got a few options, it seems. We could keep travelling, in the hopes of finding a good place to start a pride. Or we could keep travelling to find a pride to join. Or we could travel to find a better place to start a pride..." He was looking around, but then he glanced at Niani. "That is, I suppose I should ask: are you interested in starting a pride with me?" He grinned, though there was a vulnerability behind that grin he couldn't keep from his eyes.
"I dunno, I might need some convincing." Niani teases with a smile, then gently muzzles the side of his face. "However, the offer of starting a pride with you is very appealing, so I may very well accept."
Then, she lies down next to him and rests her head on his large paws. "Let's take a nap first, then decide where we go from here."
"Nap? But we just woke up!" Harufu then looked down where Niani's head was, on his paws, and smiled. "Though I suppose it doesn't sound like such a bad idea." He lay down where he was, putting his head near hers, and sighed. "If you were MY queen, I wouldn't make you hunt. You'd just be able to lounge around and look all queenly. If that appeals to you, anyway." He smiled.
"Really?" Harufu said, both pleased and surprised. "But why? We've only just met. I might be a terrible king. How do you know I won't become evil and corrupt, like in the stories? You know... the one about a cub called Kimba and his evil uncle..." he searched the sky for a name. "... Scratch. That said I think you'd make an EXCELLENT queen. You're just not lazy enough. But we can work on that." He licked her cheek.
Harufu paused for a moment, searching Niani's eyes for sincerity. When he found it, he couldn't help but grin. "And I feel better by yours. Very happy. Like... ludicrously happy. It's ridiculous." He nuzzled her cheek again. "Titles might not matter but from here on out, you will be referred to as my Queen. I insist. Not always mind you. And only if you're not sick of it. Wouldn't want to bore you, after all." He nipped her ear playfully. "But I must insist I catch our next meal. Let me show you some panther hospitality. You can sit and let your bruises recover." He raised his head, smiling at her. "Unless you get bored of course. And you'll have to eat whatever I bring you."
"You'll never bore me." Niani reassures him. "And, I'll honor your request by sitting this hunt out. But don't go overboard. Last thing I need is to find out you were trying to hunt me a hippo." She teases with a laugh. "Seriously though. Do be careful."
"I might try one of these gazelle things, but later." He rested his head again. "Right now my tummy is full, there's still half a zebra left, and the company here is really, really good." Tentatively he snuggled a little closer, putting his hand on her side, looking in her eye to make sure it was ok.
"Well, maybe we should make a decision about our long-term plans," Harufu said, placing his paws under his chin. "Are we starting our own pride? I haven't seen or heard of any lions around here. We could start it here. Plenty to eat," he said, looking over to the zebra carcass and licking his lips. "Or we could settle somewhere closer to your own pride. You know, to start a coup. One day, I mean." He grinned. "Or so we could visit your family more often...?"
"Ok," Harufu said, standing. "Let's do it. And afterwards if you're still wishing to start a pride with me, we'll have to invite my parents out of the Congo to meet you, too. "So, which way? And how far? And uhh... who's going to be there? Your mother still around?" he asked, a little nervously.
"A few days west of here." Niani grins and stands with him. "My mother should still be there. She'll love you, I just know it. Also, my friends should still be there. I can't wait to see them again. Can't wait to meet your parents, either."
"Alright!" Harufu said, pleased a decision had been made. "So, we take a bite to eat and then get going, I presume? You lions don't drag zebra carcasses around behind you, right?" He turned to get a snack from the Zebra's remains, but stopped at the feet. "What can I get you? There's still a kidney left... ooh, and a stomach!"
Niani laughs. "I like the legs." She answers. "I find knawing on the bone to be... enjoyable." Then she looks at the sky and squints. "I hope we make it before the dry season starts. Storms are very dangerous in the dry season, and I would prefer to be somewhere I know is safe."
"There's usually a large cave the pride stays in; near a waterhole. The grass there is harder to catch fire and the other animals typically avoid the area." She says, then looks at Harufu's nervous expression. "You know, if you're still nervous about living on the savanna, I am willing to move to the Congo with you."
Harufu thought about that for a moment, then shook his head. "If I didn't do things that made me nervous, I'd be pretty boring, wouldn't I? I would have walked right by you after all," he said, then licked her cheek and smiled. "So let's go check out this family of yours. At least, if I end up hating everyone or they end up hating me, it sounds like there's a pretty cool cave to check out." With that he started walking somewhere south, mostly because that had been the direction he'd been walking before they met, but then he stopped. "Uhh, which way again?"