Feeling calmer than he had been in a while, Lotor sedately walked into the warden’s room, letting the door fall close behind him with a soft click. Even softer was his sigh, a deep exhale of breath as Lotor walked towards the couch. He ignored his old friend, the well stocked bar, not ready to fall into the trap of drinking away his feelings once more.
Instead he sat down, eyes staring at the wall of monitors, fighting the temptation to switch them on. He knew it was ridiculous, he had just left Allura, and yet he wanted to see her once more. To observe her from afar, and see how she was reacting to her new found freedom. It was a freedom he envied her, Lotor finding the shackles of love tied him down securely, leaving him open and vulnerable to Allura’s whims and actions.
Her words held even more power, Lotor replaying their talk over in his mind, repeating phrases and trying to analyze the looks on her face. One thing was certain, truthful or not, Allura had given him much to think about.
He marveled at how easily the words of love slipped past her lips, Allura cool and collected by all outwards appearances. Her calm facade was only marred by the hint of agitation that shook her body, a touch Lotor found made discerning her truths from the lies difficult. A part of him wanted to believe in everything she said, but he quickly pushed that urge aside, knowing trust had been shattered between them long ago.
Her story wasn’t as outlandish a lie as it could be, it echoed something Lotor had privately thought during many of his drunken escapades. He could remember thinking she was a coward, running from her feelings for him. How very intriguing to hear Allura use those very words to describe her actions, the princess telling him she had fallen so desperately in love with him that it had scared her.
He could very much imagine that being the truth, knowing Allura was young, just on the cusp of womanhood. As far as his spies had surmised, Allura had never so much as dated before, Lotor confidant he had been her first kiss, as well as stealing other firsts from her while she was in his care. He would have smirked at the thought, if not for how serious the situation was, Lotor wondering if it could really be so simple as a lie born on the heels of a girl running scared.
He knew how much she valued Arus, how much she cherished her people. That she could even consider endangering them must have been an alien concept to her. But, and this was the important part that worried away at his thoughts, if she had truly been terrified for what her feelings for him had almost cost Arus, then why now would she admit to it? Why would she confess to a love that jeopardized everything she fought to protect?
Even more troubling was the insistent way she tried to hand over the planet to him now. He should have leapt on that prospect, should have claimed the planet in the name of the Doom Empire. But to Lotor Arus was now meaningless, just another reminder of Allura and the love he was trying to forget. Did the princess know that? And if she did, would she really play such a huge gamble to get Lotor to believe in her love? Would she really risk her people being enslaved just to keep Lotor wrapped around her tiny finger?
It was a complicated web he sought to unravel, Lotor not knowing what could be the God’s honest truth. And the devil take him, he wanted the truth to be as she said, Lotor yearning for Allura’s love with every fiber of his being even as he tried to fight against it. He lifted his hand, Lotor grazing his fingertips against his lips as he recalled the sweet, loving way she had kissed him. He didn’t want to believe his princess was that accomplished an actress, Lotor content to believe he was able to make her feel by using her body against him. But it was not enough to have her lusting for him, he wanted the love to be real.
A realness he’d never be able to trust, Lotor growling as he dropped his hand down to his side. His fist punched the couch’s cushion, Lotor scowling at the empty room. Why had she told him that story, why did she fill him with false hopes just as he had come to accept that he’d never get over her? Was Allura such a cruel person as to dig the dagger in deeper into his heart? Would she not be satisfied with anything less than making him her obedient lap dog?!
Lotor simply did not know, the prince ready to drop his head down into his hands. He needed sleep, but felt too wound up to attain a restful state, his mind wanting nothing more than to over think everything about these last few days. Especially the moments he had spent in her arms of the night before, seeing the look of loving adoration on her face. Had she ever looked that way at Keith? Or was it a look Allura reserved for Lotor alone?
Lotor knew he’d drive himself mad before he attained answers, the prince leaning back, muttering angrily under his breath. Noise filtered in through the otherwise silent room, Lotor’s sharp hearing picking up the sound of footsteps coming closer to his door. It had to be Allura, the girl not trying to be quiet as she walked the hall that led out of her cell.
He stiffened, holding his breath, hearing her come closer, positive she had finally decided to leave him. Lotor willed himself to remain seated, not wanting to dash out into the hall and grab her. If she wanted to leave him, then so be it. He’d not stop her, and it would give him the truth he was so desperately in need of.
Her footsteps grew louder, then fell silent, Allura pausing outside his door. He resisted the urge to call out to her, staring fixedly at the wall of monitors, willing her to leave. Practically daring her to prove him right. Her hesitation continued, and then he heard it, a soft knocking on the door.
“Lotor?” Allura’s voice, the girl carefully easing the door open to peer inside the room. He fought not to look at her, but ultimately failed, the prince turning and seeing her standing there looking uncertain. She was still wearing his shirt, a sight that should have proved ridiculous in how it hung down low like a dress on her. Instead he felt a flare of desire, an odd sort of possessive lust to see her garbed in a garment that belong to him.
Lotor remained sitting, trying not to react to her, just fixing eyes that were blank of emotion on her. She pushed the door open wider, and stepped into the room, eyes curious as she looked around.
“Is this where you’ve been staying?” Allura asked, noting the cot shoved in the corner of the room. He nodded, seeing her frown. “It doesn’t look very comfortable.”
“It’s not.” Lotor said, gruff and to the point, hardly in the mood to make conversation with her. She just nodded and looked around, noting the many bottles of liquor on the table, Allura drawing nearer to his seat as she continued her inquisitive looks. Her hand landed on the micro oven’s top, Allura turning to look at the wall of monitors up on it’s black frame.
“So you have been watching me…” Lotor did not deny her observation, Allura sighing. “Is this where you cook our meals?” Her fingers drummed on the micro oven’s top, tapping out a beat with her nails. Lotor gave a slight incline of his head, Allura frowning. “No servants?”
“No. It’s just you and me.” Lotor said, confirming her question.
“It must have been difficult for you, to arrange all this on your own.” Allura said, Lotor again giving that half nod. “I can’t imagine not having servants around to help.”
“I managed just fine.” Lotor told her, then pushed forward to interrupt her next question. “Allura, why are you still here?” She blinked at him, for a second looking wounded at the angry way he snapped out his words. It made him want to apologize, Lotor clenching his teeth to fight against that impulse.
“I told you. I’m not leaving.”
“That’s your answer?” He couldn’t keep the disbelief out of his voice, feeling frustrated when she nodded. “Or maybe you’re just too delicate to traipse through the woods to the nearest town.”
“That’s not it!” Allura protested, face growing red in her upset. “I won’t abandon you this time. You have my word.”
“Your word?” Lotor snorted, mocking her openly with his disgust. “Your word isn’t worth a damn to me.”
“Nonetheless, you have it all the same.” She said quietly.
“Let’s just cut the pretenses princess, and get this farce over with.” He stood, and stalked over to the corner where his cot lay, reaching for a box at the foot of the bed. Allura remained by the micro oven, just watching him as he pulled out a small space wave radio. “You want to go home don’t you? Well, allow me to facilitate your trip.”
“Lotor, no!” Allura said, but he ignored her, fiddling with the controls.
“I’ll even input the transmission codes for you.” Lotor said, knowing the codes to contact the castle of lions by heart. “All you need to do is speak up, and the captain and your friends will soon be here, knocking down my doors.”
“Stop.” Allura ordered, a command Lotor ignored. The radio flared to life, static crackling in the room as it began dialing a connection. Lotor looked at Allura while he did it, his eyes daring her to speak up. A voice came out over the airwaves, questioning the archaic method Lotor used to contact the castle. An unhappy smile on his face, Lotor opened his mouth to speak, at the same instant Allura screamed out a protest.
“Lotor don’t!” She lunged at him, her hand slapping at his. The shock of her actions caused him to drop the radio, the delicate machinery smashing into several pieces on the floor, the voice on the air waves lost in the damage. Lotor stared downwards, stunned, Allura in his arms. She trembled as she clung to him, her fingers taking tight hold of his shirt as she buried her face against his chest.
“Why did you do that?!” Lotor demanded, not faking the furious tone in his voice.
“I told you. I’m not going anywhere.” Allura said, tone stubborn. She was hardly shaken by his anger, letting out a protesting no when he tried to pull her away from him. “Accept it Lotor, you’re stuck with me.”
“So it would appear.” He sighed, letting his hands fall to his sides though right now his greatest temptation was to touch her hair. “Tell me Allura, how long do you plan to keep this charade up? We both have responsibilities, ones we are continuing to neglect by being here.”
“I don’t care.” She said, raising her head to look up at him. “Nothing matters to me anymore but you.”
He very much wanted to believe her, Lotor staring down into her eyes as he sighed. There was so many things he could say to that, so many words he was tempted to say. But instead he settled on something simple, hoping she’d at least pull away long enough for him to put some distance between them. “Are you hungry Allura?” He knew it had been hours since he had last fed her.
She nodded, a pleased light in her eyes at his concern. “Then allow me to fix you something.”
“All right.” She let him go, but he could see she was reluctant to do so. He wondered at that, his mind’s voice whispering that she couldn’t be faking that reaction. But Lotor kept quiet, walking over to his miniature storage device, digging out a meal. He didn’t ask her what she preferred, knowing his limited rations couldn’t afford a picky eater. He took out enough for two people, dropping the contents on a tray that he put inside the micro oven.
He could feel Allura’s gaze on him, Lotor busying himself with watching the food cook. “Lotor…?” He made a sound, responding to his name as he watched the tray spin around in the micro oven. “Where are we exactly? I didn’t do much exploring yet, but….this building reminds me of a prison.”
“That’s because it is.” He said, counting down the seconds with the oven’s timer. “It hasn’t been in use for years…No doubt this is the first time you’ve set foot in such a place.”
“True. Arus has little use for prisons…My father shut down many of them during his rule.” Allura told him. “We had too many prisons and not enough criminals to warrant such an expense.”
“I know.” Lotor said, and used a rag to pull out the hot tray. “Most of the crimes on Arus are petty enough to be overlook. Your real violent criminal types all come from off world, the perpetuators of this war.” He turned, seeing she had made herself comfortable on the couch, her hands folded in her lap as she watched him. Lotor walked over to the table, setting the tray down.
“Where exactly are we?” Allura asked, voice coming out louder as Lotor began dragging the table over to the couch’s front. “What planet are we on? Doom?”
He sat down next to her, taking his time in answering her. “We’re still on Arus.” She gave a start, her body brushing against his arm as she turned to stare at him shocked.
“One of the prisons abandoned by your father.” Lotor said, and began eating, completely nonchalant. “So you see Allura, it really is a matter of you just walking out that door to get to your freedom.”
“All this time, we’ve been on Arus…” She reached for a fork, but she hardly seemed interested in the food. “How did you do this Lotor? How did you get this place ready for us?”
“You mean how did I get planet side without being detected by the lions?” At her nod, he smirked. “It was easy enough, considering my ride wasn’t the typical Doom class war ship. I used transport from one of the planets allied with yours. It allowed me to come and go as often as necessary.”
“This is why you weren’t seen attacking the planet these last few weeks…” Allura said, voice musing her thoughts out loud. “You were too busy making preparations….”
“Eat your food Allura, before it gets cold.” Lotor told her. She didn’t heed his words, continuing to talk as she pushed her potatoes around with her fork.
“It’s very risky what you’ve done. But….in a way it makes sense. No one would think to look for me so close to home. And by now they must figure you have me back on Doom.”
“Most likely, yes.” Agreed Lotor.
“Did you ever plan to take me to Doom?” Allura asked, then frowned when he shook his head no. “You mean to say you really intended to leave me if your plan to get over me had succeeded?”
“Yes, Allura. That was what I was hoping to do.” Lotor told her with a sigh. “Things have obviously changed.”
“What do you intend to do now?” Allura asked, her question giving him pause. He didn’t feel like returning to Doom just yet, not ready to face the humiliation of a jeering court. Nor was he looking forward to being yelled at by his father, the King sure to demand explanations of=n where Lotor had run off to, and why he hadn’t produced results that favored the Doom Empire.
So he just gave a noncommittal gesture, shrugging his shoulders as he busied his mouth with his food. “Promise me something.” Allura said, her eyes serious in her determination. He looked at her, cautious as she continued. “Promise me Lotor, you won’t leave in the middle of the night. I couldn’t bear it if I woke up and you were gone!” His hesitation showed, Allura dropping her fork to grab at his hands, giving an urgent squeeze as she all but shouted. “Give me your word!”
“….All right Allura…” Lotor began, choosing his words carefully. “I give you my word that I won’t just leave without saying good-bye to you first.” That seemed to relax her, Allura sighing in relief.
“That’s all I can ask of you.” She said, and at last began to eat her meal. Now it was Lotor’s turn to pick at his food, wondering why he had felt the need to give her his word. After all, was it not his right to just pack up and leave anytime he felt like it? And yet he felt guilt at the thought, reasoning to himself Allura had come to depend on his presence. The very least he could do was stay with her until she was ready to return to her kingdom. He just hoped that would be sooner than later, knowing his heart could not stand against more of her ardent proclamations of love.