“Are you going for a run, my love?” T’Challa asked, against his shoulder. Sam smiled softly, his eyelids still glued together by sleep.
“No, I’d rather say goodbye to you properly, Kitten.” he answered, his grin turning a little mischievous. When T’Challa pinched his side in retaliation for the nickname, though, he squeaked.
“You are cruel.” He added, turning around to kiss his boyfriend’s lips. He could almost taste T’Challa smile.
“I am no such thing.” The king said on his lips, before sitting up on the bed. Sam moaned in disappointment and made grabby hands towards him. T’Challa’s laugh made him smile, and he finally sat up as well.
“I can’t wait for you to be back.” Sam said.
“I haven’t even left yet!”
“You know what I mean- don’t expect me to be coherent after- what? Two hours of sleep?”
“I remember you saying something along the lines of ‘we can do something better than sleep’, last night.” T’Challa said, with a grin. Sam smacked him lightly on the shoulder.
“Excuse me for wanting to have sex with my boyfriend before he leaves for two weeks!”
Instead of answering, T'Challa leaned down to kiss him again, and Sam promptly forgot if he had anything else to say. After six months of dating, he still forgot everything else around them when they were kissing.
A loud knock on the door interrupted them, and they both sighed at the same time.
“My King, we are leaving in half an hour.” Ayo said, from outside the door.
“Duty calls.” Sam said, hiding a yawn against his shoulder and stretching his arms and back. T'Challa run a hand through his hair, before getting up from the bed.
Half an hour later, everybody was at the entrance of the palace.
The trip T'Challa was taking wasn't anything unusual, honestly. He had to go to a meeting for African Leaders, and between the actual thing - that was spread in four days -, all the other political frills and a one on one meeting with the leader of Sudan, he would have to stay away for two weeks.
Sam was not a clingy person, in any way. He was not dependent on his boyfriend, and had always advocated for independence in couples dynamics. That didn't mean he wasn't going to miss T’Challa, though. He squeezed his hand, and the King squeezed it back, before raising it to his lips and kissing it softly.
“I'm going to miss you, my love.” T’Challa murmured. Sam smiled. He really loved how Wakandan men didn't have time for bullshit such as fragile and toxic masculinity.
“I'm going to miss you too, Kitty.” he said, grinning. The Dora Milaje snickered silently and T’Challa raised an eyebrow.
“Try not to get lost in the jungle while I'm away.” he deadpanned. Sam gasped.
“That was one time, T’Challa!” he said, before being shut up by a quick kiss on the lips. T'Challa’s laugh was the last thing he heard before the King boarded the jet.
He sighed. He was so in love.
On the third day, Sam decided he wanted to take a walk. In the jungle. Because he was from Manhattan, sure, but he was also a superhero and come on: the jungle couldn't beat him like that.
Luckily the fact that he was, indeed, a superhero, granted him a certain amount of freedom from the Dora Milaje in charge of his protection. At least, in case he got lost again, he wouldn't be laughed at. Too much. Shuri would find out, eventually, but maybe he could bribe her to keep it a secret.
Thinking about it, Sam made his way through the city, nodding politely to the people who recognized him. In America, probably, people would have been up in his face trying to get any gossip possible about the royal family and his relationship with T'Challa out of him. In Wakanda, though, people just let him be, and he was honestly grateful for it.
He reached the end of the city and stared at the trees in front of him. Come on, how hard could that be? It was just a bunch of trees. It couldn't be more dangerous than the streets of Harlem, right?
It was surely calmer. As soon as he passed the tree line, the sounds of the busy city got drowned out, and he could only hear his footsteps and the sound of some unknown birds above him. He breathed in the smell of dirt and leaves, and kept going.
Sometimes it was good to have a moment for himself, away from everybody else, to collect his thoughts and organize them. Other times, it got a little overwhelming. After walking for half an hour, or so, he stopped in a clearance and sat on a rock. The silence was starting to get a little bit too much, when added to the loneliness. He wasn't afraid of the jungle - for now -, but he was afraid of the noise in his head. Sometimes the sounds of screams and gunshots, both from war and from the battles of the Avengers, made an appearance in his brain. Usually, in those moments, he seeked out his boyfriend. They didn't talk, at first. For Sam it was enough to have someone by his side to ground him. And then, when he wasn't feeling like falling apart anymore, he talked about it, because that was good for him and his mental health.
But now T'Challa wasn't there, and Sam should have probably gone back home, where at least he could talk to someone. Sam closed his eyes for a second and, as if proving how loud the noise in his head had gotten, the cat caught him by surprise. When he felt something soft under his fingertips, he almost jumped on the rock. He opened his eyes, getting ready to fight without his wings, when he saw the black cat looking at him with its yellow eyes filled with curiosity.
"Ehi there, little thing. What the hell are you doing in the jungle, man?" He asked, curiously. The cat took a few steps to reach his hand and hid his head under it. Sam smiled softly.
"You wanna cuddle? Sure." He said, scratching the cat behind its ears. The cat seemed to like it, and after a while he jumped on Sam's knees and purred.
"Ouch, stop using your claws to settle down, you absolute monster! I'll drop you!" Sam exclaimed, but patiently waited for the animal to settle down on his knees before resuming the scratching.
"You really remind me of T'Challa, You know? Kind of what I needed, so thanks. But this is not really the right place for a kitty, is it?" He said, thinking out loud.
In the end the only thing he could do, really, was bring the cat back to the Palace with him. So he did- and he didn't get lost in the jungle, thank you very much.
He brought the kitty into his and T'Challa’s rooms, and set it down on one of the carpets, before sitting down in front of it.
"So. What should I call you? Are you a male or a female? Oh, wait, maybe I should bring you to a vet-" the cat jumped between his legs and purred.
"Wanna play, you Absolute monster? Fine." Sam laughed, surprised.
He realized how much time had passed only when his phone went off. Sam reached for it and saw that it was T’Challa video calling him. Smiling already, he accepted the call.
“Hello, my love.” T’Challa said. He was smiling, but Sam could see the tiredness all over his face.
“Hi, babe. Did you kill someone already?”
“My democracy skills are still amazing, thank you very much.” the King said, rising his eyebrows.
“Of course they are.” laughing, Sam got up from the floor and threw himself on their bed. “how was your day?”
They talked for an hour straight (they mainly bitched about the other politicians, with T’Challa reporting some of the funniest comment made by the Dora Milaje on top of his own, sarcastic commentary of everything), until the light outside dimmed enough that Sam could only see thanks to the pale light shed by his phone. In that moment, the cat jumped on his stomach, making him giggle.
“What is it?”
“Oh, yeah- I found a cat, and I kind of adopted him?”
T’Challa looked at him for a second, surprised.
“A cat?” Sam smiled.
“Yeah. It’s black.” he said with a grin. T’Challa started laughing so hard the phone almost fell from his hand. Sam found himself laughing as well. It was not that funny, but his boyfriend had had a long day, and honestly Sam just loved the sound of his laugh.
“What did you name it?”
T’Challa looked confused by the name. Sam downright gasped.
“T’Challa. Babe. Kitty. We are binge watching The fresh Prince of Bel-Air as soon as you come back.”
“Is it another one of you american trash tv shows?”
“You take that back right now or I’ll hang up on you!” that caused another fit of unjustified laughter. They talked for an hour more, while Sam slowly stroked Carlton, and both ended up falling asleep without hanging up the call.
When T’Challa finally came back, he gave a rapid report of the uneventful trip to the council, reasserted the fact that Wakanda still refused a political alliance with the tyrannical regime in Sudan, and then went straight to find Sam, who apparently was trying to train their new cat in their rooms.
He entered with a smile, and was immediately greeted by a kiss and, Bast, did he miss his boyfriend’s smile against his lips.
“you can tell me everything about the trip in a second, as soon as I manage to make Carlton eat something. He’s a huge ass cat but he is not eating cat food. I should probably bring him to a vet.” Sam said, turning around to glare at one side of the room.
And that was the moment when the panther cub showed himself, and T’Challa was left completely speechless.
“What in bast name-” he murmured. Sam shrugged, and stretched his hand. The panther reached for him and- purred. Like a cat.
“I know. As I said: big ass cat. And he’s not eating, so imagine how big he could be if he actually ate something.” the Panther threw himself at Sam’s feet to get some belly rubs, and stretched his limbs as if everything was absolutely normal.
“Really, really big, my love, since it’s a panther.” T’Challa said, still surprised. Sam stopped in the middle of scratching the panther’s - … Carlton - belly. He looked up at him.
“It’s not a cat, Samuel… it’s a panther.”
Sam looked at him again, then at Carlton, than back at him.
“So you’re saying that I… adopted a fucking panther? Just like that?” he sounded really shocked, and if T’Challa hadn’t been so surprised, he would have probably laughed so hard (his american idiot of a boyfriend couldn’t tell the difference between a cat and a panther, and he loved him so much). He ended up just nodding.
Sam considered Carlton, at his feet, still purring. Then shrugged.
“Well, one more panther can’t hurt, can it? I already tamed you.” he said, grinning mischievously.
“You are an idiot.”