He had moved into action not long after Morduck and his cronies had left, Lotor hurrying back into the bedroom. Allura had followed him, his mate silent save for a few murmured apologies. He knew she was blaming herself for this, worrying she had become the distraction Morduck had accused her of. A part of him knew that was correct, sort of, though Allura herself wasn’t at fault. It was this damn mating between them, the biological imperative his body could not ignore.
That his mind hadn’t become completely befuddled with thoughts of Allura, that in and of itself was a small miracle. Lotor had proven he could function somewhat, the prince having forced himself to concentrate long enough to strategize a back up plan for the invasion. But he knew now that hadn’t been enough, and his momentary lapses in judgment, and distracting thoughts had earned the worry of his people.
A worry that traitorous Morduck had been quick to capitalize on. Lotor’s hand clenched into fists, the prince reaching his closet. He wished the commander was here for him to personally strangle, Lotor uttering a soft growl under his breath. Never had he been so betrayed in this manner, never had he been stripped of his command, imprisoned as though he was a very danger to his people.
Snorting at the thought, Lotor reached for one of his spare uniforms, tossing a command to Allura. “Get dressed.”
“Okay.” She quickly agreed, and went searching for her discarded clothing. He’d let her take the shower, Lotor having no time to properly bathe. Not when he needed to get a hold of his father. He wouldn’t even be bothering to get dressed if not for the fact his father would be furious if Lotor showed up before him, disheveled and shirtless. He needed every advantage he could get, and looking presentable would go a long way to proving to Zarkon that he was capable of resuming command of the mission.
Allura had found her clothing, and she hurried into the bathroom. Lotor quickly moved into action, jerking off his pants, and pulling on a fresh pair. His uniform’s tunic followed, and then Lotor was pulling on his boots. A quick stop before the mirror, had him combing his hair out, his appearance turning less wild for his efforts.
He didn’t wait for Allura to finish with her shower, Lotor hurrying into the outer chamber. He quickly searched out the view screen’s remote, and entered in the button sequence that would have it lower from the ceiling. It hummed and buzzed as it moved, Lotor impatiently entering in the next sequence, the one that would put him in contact with the ship’s operator.
A Drule appeared on the screen, and his eyes widened in worry to see Lotor. “Your highness!” exclaimed the operator, voice tinged with nervousness. He almost didn’t remember to bow, muttering out apologies. “I…how can I help you?”
“Put me in contact with Doom.” Lotor ordered. “I want to speak to the King.”
“King Zarkon!” The man practically squeaked as he straightened, a hesitant look on his face. “I..I’m sorry sire, but that is impossible at the moment.”
“What do you mean, impossible?” Lotor demanded. “This ship is equipped with long range communication satellites. It should be easy enough to make a call from Arus to Doom!” He was almost bitter then. “Morduck certainly had no trouble.”
“Ah…about that…” hedged the operator. “The commander…” Lotor bristled at that word, his anger making the Drule hesitate once more. “The commander has expressed orders that no one is to disturb the King until after the mission is complete.”
“Until after?” Lotor exclaimed, knowing it would be too late then. The operator nodded, and Lotor scowled at him. “I don’t take orders from Morduck. From anyone aboard this ship! Now make the call!”
“I can’t!” The operator protested, fingers staying still on his computer console. “I have my orders. The commander was very specific in saying no one, including your highness, contact the King.”
“This is a royal order I am giving you!” Lotor snarled, fingers tightening on the remote. “Obey me or suffer the consequences…!”
“I’m sorry sire…” It was not possible for a Drule to pale, their skin was simply the wrong color for it. But the Drule operator looked terrified, sweat breaking out on his brow. “Commander Morduck’s orders override even yours…”
The remote made a cracking sound from the force of Lotor’s hand, plastic casing splintering in protest. “Forgive me…” added the frightened Drule just before the screen turned to static.
“Damn it!” Lotor growled, and it took every ounce of self control to not throw the remote at the view screen. He was still glaring at it, the room filled with the hiss of static, when Allura timidly crept into the room. He didn’t look at her right away, Lotor practicing his breathing in an attempt to get his temper under control.
“They won’t even let me talk to him.” He said at last, still not looking at her. “That bastard Morduck has made sure of that!”
“I…I’m sorry…” She stood a few feet away from him, radiating uncertainty. “Now what will you do?”
“I don’t know.” Lotor admitted, setting down the remote. “I feel like I’m out of options….a prisoner on my own ship!” His look was sour, Lotor remembering the indignity of his own soldiers threatening him with their weapons. Well, he wouldn’t be caught unaware again, Lotor stalking past Allura into the bedroom. She quickly followed him, watching as he searched out where his sword belt lay.
It was with great relief that he buckled the sword belt around him, Lotor touching the pommel of his sword. He went so far as to draw it, just being soothed by it’s hum of power, the lazon lighting the area around him with a blue glow.
“What good can a sword do against lasers?” Allura asked him, and he reacted with surprise.
“That’s right…” Lotor said slowly, looking at her. “Your people don’t know about lazon.”
“The metal this sword is made out of.” Lotor explained. “Though metal may be too mundane a word for something as powerful as lazon.” He gestured her closer, showing the blade off. “It’s been refined from it’s liquid state, and it can cut through just about anything. Lazon is a very precious commodity of the Drule, and to hold it in it’s refined state is very rare.” He was not boasting as he stated the next, just saying fact. “Only those willing to part with a lot of gold can afford a sword with a lazon blade.”
“This is all very interesting, but I don’t see how it would help you against lasers.” Allura told him.
“Refined Lazon can reflect lasers, bounce them back to their point of origins.” Lotor explained, watching her eyes grow wide.
“Even if that is true, how could anyone hope to stand up against so many soldiers?” Allura questioned. “I mean….no one could be that fast…”
“I am.” Lotor assured her. “I’ve done it time and time again, and if need be I’ll do it again. I won’t hesitate to turn my sword against those who seek to usurp my power and my freedom.”
“But you don’t want to…” Allura noted, and he nodded.
“It’s only that snake Morduck that I’m looking forward to thrashing. I know most of the soldiers on board this ship are merely caught up in his play for power.” Lotor snorted. “That fool. Thinking he’ll get away with it!”
“But how can you stop him?” Allura wondered.
“I’m working on that.” Lotor sheathed his sword, the hum silenced, the glow immediately fading. “I won’t let his treachery stand.”
“Why not simply do as he told you?” She blushed then, quickly lowering her eyes. “I know you want to be with me. To strengthen the bond you think we have.”
“The bond I know we have.” Corrected Lotor. “Allura, I would like nothing more than to be with you. To focus only on you, and spend time planning our perfect future together. But I am also the prince of my people, and I must not cease functioning to the point a power grabbing bastard like Morduck can take command of them. Do you understand?”
“You have a sense of responsibility to your people.” Allura said. “That’s an admirable trait in a prince.” He actually grew flustered at her praise, Lotor letting silence grow between them for several seconds.
“Ah yes…” A clearing of his throat, Lotor trying to think what to say to her.
She surprised him, asking him the following. “Tell me about your people. Your kingdom.”
“What do you want to know?”
“Well…the Drule are such a mystery to us, known mainly for their conquering ways.” Allura said. “How is a race of people that becomes so devoted to their mates, manage to earn such a fiercesome reputation?”
“It was my father’s doing really.” Lotor answered. “He continued the work his father, my grandfather began, continuing the spread of our people through out the galaxy through conquest. My father thought grandfather was a fool to drop his war mongering ways because he was in love.” A sigh then. “My father never liked the idea of love. Hated it with every fiber of his being.”
“And that’s why he chose to….marry someone who was not his race, and not his fated mate?”
“Marry….I suppose that’s as good a word for what he did with my mother.” Mused Lotor, noting the shudder that went through Allura. “There was no love there, on either side. I dare say there wasn’t even lust, just pure necessity to make an heir to his kingdom. My father thought he was mocking fate, getting around the chemical make up that makes the Drule tied to one person.”
“I thought I was free of it too Allura.” Admitted Lotor. “I should have known better. You can’t just erase the mate bond with one try, maybe not even with a thousand attempts! It will take a lot more than a few humans to breed out this urge. nor should we want too!” He added with a smile, reaching to touch her face. “I know now how wrong my father was to try this. He would have denied me my very soul, the other half of me.”
He stroked her cheek, Lotor continuing. “As it is, there’s too many Drules that go through their whole lives without meeting their fated mate. We’re too spread apart on too many planets…it’s tragic, many prevented from crossing each other’s paths, learning of their other half’s existence. Just like I would have never known of you, if I hadn’t come to Arus and seen you at the lake…”
“What does it feel like to be mated?” Allura asked, curiosity in her eyes.
“It’s wonderful.” Lotor sighed out his answer. “You feel alive for the first time. You’re truly aware of another person in ways you never imagined, attuned to their feelings, their needs. All you can think about is making that person happy, of making a life with that person, a future. You want to see to their comfort and pleasure, to make them feel safe. You want to never deny them anything…”
He kept on petting her cheek, thinking over his words. “When I saw you at the lake, I was startled. I had already known there was something different in me…I had smelled you before I ever saw you, and the feelings your sweet scent arose in me left me unsettled. I didn’t want to be changed…didn’t want to be mated. I dare say if I had
known what was happening, I would have run in the opposite direction as fast as I could!”
A rueful chuckle, Lotor feeling ashamed that he had ever felt like that. “It wouldn’t have done me any good. I was already halfway in love with you, before I even laid eyes on you. Your scent drew me in, but the sight of you sealed the deal. It was like a switch had been flipped, filling me with the knowledge that this moment, this person, is what I had been waiting for my whole life. Allura….” His hand slid into her braided hair, Lotor inching closer to her. “I was born for you…Born to love you, to cherish you, to worship you as my own personal Goddess.”
He didn’t try to hide his feelings as he said those words, Lotor letting his eyes echo the truth of it. Allura stared back into his eyes, and then she was exhaling, a slow steady breath. But she didn’t shy away from him, blue eyes fathomless depths in the moment. “It…it almost scares me when you talk like that.” She confessed.
“Why?” He wanted to know.
“It’s just…no one can love that fully. No one could WANT to!”
“I want.” He said simply. “I want and I need. I yearn for it. Yearn for your acceptance. Not just of your body, but all of you. Your hopes, your dreams, your plans for both the present and the future. I accept it all, even any sins you may have committed in your past. I want to know all of it, want to be able to love you even more for that knowledge.”
“As frightened as I am by the words…” She spoke slowly, hesitantly. “I think the look in your eyes scares me even more. It’s a look I often see when you turn to me….and it makes me want to believe in a bond so deep as you say we can have.”
“Trust in the looks then.” Lotor urged her. “Trust that I mean what I say…”
“I can’t…” That had him blinking rapidly, to hide his hurt and confusion. “At least….not yet….”
“Don’t try to build up false hope in me Allura…not even to spare me my pain.” Lotor advised her, letting go of her hair. “It hurts when you reject me…and you do it constantly. Not just in your words, but in your actions. Each refusal is like a dagger to my heart, knife chipping away another piece. How much more will you take? Will you be satisfied when I have no heart left to give?!”
“No!” her hands reached for him, but then she stopped, flushing guiltily as she brought them clasped to her chest. “I am not trying to hurt you, not really. I just want you to understand…I can’t be what you need me to be…”
“I’ve made no outrageous demands of you.” Lotor replied. “I’ve not told you to change who you are! I’m more than willing to accept everything about you, without demanding you change to please me! What other man can give you that?”
“No one…” She whispered. He just stared at her, until she couldn’t bear to look at him a moment longer, Allura turning her back on him. “I don’t mean to cause you pain…and from what I understand of the mating bond, that’s just what I’m doing. It’s all I am doing. You’d be better off without me!”
“No. I would DIE without you!” Lotor said, risking touching her shoulders. She gasped, more at his words than his touch, Allura spinning around to face him. “I’ve seen what has happened to a Drule that loses their mate. It’s a sad, lonely death, spread out over months as they wilt away to nothing.”
“I don’t want to be responsible for your death!” Allura cried out, distressed.
He went and cupped her face in both hands, not sure how to reassure her. “Then don’t try to leave me…” he begged then, voice full of urgency. She didn’t, wouldn’t promise him that, tears starting to fall from her eyes. “Shhh…” Lotor said, leaning in to lick at her tears. They were salty sadness, and more spilled at his tongue’s touch. “I don’t tell you this to make you cry…”
“I cry all the same…” Allura sniffled. “You leave me in awe of the thought of a love so strong it’s worth dying for! Even more so at the thought that you could feel that kind of love for me…” Her hands touched his chest, fingers fisting his tunic’s front. Cautiously, he lowered his hands, moving to take her in his arms. She did not fight him, actually leaning into him as he embraced her.
He wasn’t sure where this discussion had led them, if it had brought him any closer to her. The feelings existing between them were so hard to read, Lotor only sensing Allura’s sadness in the moment. He hugged her tighter, not ever wanting to let her go, and feeling her tremble with the force of her emotions.
“I’ll try to do better.” She whispered. “I won’t hurt you if I can help it.”
It was better than he hoped, Lotor nuzzling his face against the top of her hair. “Thank you Allura.” Her arms did not return the hug, but she continued to cling to him with her hands, not protesting as the embrace continued for a few moments more. He stayed wrapped up in her body and scent, and though he was not completely happy, he was content.
It was proof of his mate’s power over him, Allura holding a calming force when she was willing to exert it. Lotor was reluctant to let go of her, his arms slowly relaxing. She didn’t step away from him immediately, another small victory in his book.
“Let’s go see if I can’t order us some breakfast.” Lotor said, and she smiled through her tears. “Anything is bound to be better than stale pastries!”
“Yes…” Allura agreed, surprising him when she took his hand. They walked together out of the bedroom, Lotor marching towards the cabin’s exit. He curled his hand into a fist, banging it hard on the door. The metal rattled and echoed, and for one moment it looked like they were going to be ignored. But then the door was unlocked, a guard standing there, looking as nervous as his partner looked annoyed.
“What do you want?” demanded the annoyed guard, Lotor noting he had his laser rifle in hand. “We have strict orders from Commander Morduck to not let you leave this cabin!”
“Jerock! The nervous one exclaimed, clearly uneasy with the way the soldier has spoken to the prince.
“Surely Morduck doesn’t intend to let us slowly starve to death!” Lotor retorted. “It’s late, and breakfast is long over due.” Several groups of soldiers ran by, a few glancing into the cabin, but most too busy to even care. It was an odd amount of activity for this floor, and Lotor wondered what was going on.
“Fine, fine. We’ll send someone down to get you some breakfast. Though you might be waiting a while…” smirked Jerock.
“Oh?” Lotor lifted an eyebrow in question. “And just what is going on that you can’t see to the needs of your prince?” Jerock remained tightlipped, another set of soldiers rushing by, armed with blasters that were charged and ready to fire.
It was the nervous looking guard that answered, the man shooting out the words in one breath. “It’s the search parties from the castle! They’ve come across our location!”
“Already?” Lotor asked amazed, even as Jerock hissed at his partner to be quiet.
Jerock nodded. “The commander wants some of them taken alive….for questioning…”
“That’s enough Sabbath!” Jerock snarled, already reaching to close the door in Lotor’s face. Lotor let him, already turning to look at Allura. She was staring back at him, a curious look in her eyes, the girl not having understood one word of the Drule’s conversation. He sighed then, wondering how and if he should break the news to her that more Arusians were about to be captured or worse.
“Breakfast will be on it’s way…” Lotor said at last, leading her over to the table. “We may have to wait a while…”
“A while? Why?” Allura asked, being sure to push the berry wine jug away from her. “Lotor, tell me…” She insisted at his hesitation.
“There’s a problem outside.” Lotor finally said.
“Problem?” She looked like she couldn’t imagine what he was about to say.
“Those search parties looking for you, they’ve found our hide out.” She gasped then, turning worried. “Morduck wants to take some of them alive. No doubt he feels they’ll be useful in revealing the castle’s defenses.”
“He’s going to torture them, isn’t he?” Allura said fearfully. “Oh Lotor, you have to stop him!”
“What can I do Allura? Right now I’m a prisoner as much as you are!” Her face fell, Allura realizing the truth of his words. He would do just about anything to get her to stop looking so defeated, Lotor silently cursing to himself about Morduck. He swore to himself Morduck would pay, Lotor would see to it himself. It went beyond the stripping of his rank, and imprisoning him. Morduck’s actions were upsetting his mate, and that to Lotor, was simply unacceptable.