Following Lotor out of the side room, there was a moment when Allura hesitated. A moment where she did nothing more than stare uncertainly at his back. With the illusion’s short shorn hair, she could see the chain of the jade’s necklace. Her fingers itched to reach towards it, to tear it and the illusion apart. She actually weighed the pros and cons of such an action, and those that would follow such an unveiling. She wondered if Lotor would be able to move fast enough to kill more than a handful of the embassy’s soldiers.
But even a handful of deaths would be unacceptable to Allura. And even worse was his threat that over a hundred Drules lay in wait, bejeweled and cloaked in illusion. All just waiting for the chance to kill as many people as they could get near. The loss of so much life was unthinkable to Allura, especially if she could prevent it. And yet she was scared, her heart hammering in her chest.
The fear came from the man standing in front of her, looking so innocent and human in his caramel colored disguise. But no illusion could fool her now that she knew the truth, and every instinct in Allura was demanding that she scream, that she run at the first available opportunity. The fear urged her to be selfish, to damn others to their deaths. But Allura knew she wouldn’t, not even if Lotor were to turn on her now with rapacious intent. There was simply no choice, she couldn’t sacrifice so many for her own neck.
Lotor seemed to sense the hesitation within her. He stood relaxed, looking down one end of the hall, then the other. Allura fought not to chew at her bottom lip, knowing her face could not betray her upset. Not here, not now. Not when someone might inquire as to her upset. But she couldn’t muster up a happy smile. At best she could remain only impassive, struggling to keep her eyes blank of emotion.
He glanced at her, those eyes that were currently hazel colored, looking warm with emotion. His lips smiled, leaving Allura to wonder if she imagined how similar this smirk looked to his own. Her stomach seemed to do flip flops, her nerves tightening in response. When he raised his hand towards her cheek, she flinched back with a gasp. Abruptly his smile died, hand dropping downwards. He did not try to touch her again, instead curtly ordering her to follow him.
Allura knew she had no choice but to follow him. Her legs were shaky as she forced them to move. Allura actually stumbled forward, but quickly righted herself when Lotor attempted to help her. He frowned again, waiting for her to fall into step with him. He kept at a stroll’s leisurely pace, seeming unhurried. She walked with him, eyes darting this way and that, her instincts still urging her to run.
The matter was compounded by the fact the man besides her held the cocky swagger Allura had come to associate with the Prince of Doom. She wondered how no one seemed to have noticed it, how they could all blithely continue on in the face of such danger. Her gaze fell on every guard they passed, every staff member, no matter the job. She wondered just who she was looking at, the Drule or the real person? But there was no way to tell, nothing betraying the Drules beneath the illusion.
Allura thought of the size of the embassy, knowing that between guards and the staff, there was over three hundred people on the premises. And that was before counting the added security needed for the summit meeting. There was over a dozen world leaders and their representatives gathered here. Enough world powers for the Doom Empire to wreak havoc if something were to happen to those leaders. She felt ill at the thought, realizing in one fell swoop, the Doom Empire could wipe out the ruling class of over a dozen worlds. It would thrust those worlds into chaos, leaving them easy pickings for the Empire.
And yet she could do nothing. She couldn’t scream, she couldn’t run. Anything she tried to do would just put things into motion all the sooner. Was it better to go with Lotor, and let things play out here? All on the chance that someone, perhaps Keith, would notice something was amiss, and put a stop to Doom’s plan before the embassy turned into a blood bath?
Her shoulder sagged with the realization that that hope was the only thing she had left to her at the moment. She had no bargaining chips, at best Allura was only delaying the killing. But every second delayed, meant some had a chance of noticing what was wrong. She hoped the woman impersonating her, this Mara, would slip up and slip up fast. Keith would surely notice anything off about her, and maybe just maybe it was the noticing that would save everyone.
Her eyes wanted to send pleading looks towards everyone they passed. But Allura couldn’t even be sure that the people looking at her was friend or foe. It left her wound up tight, her voice ready to emerge on a hysterical note. She forced it out as a whisper, but it couldn’t hide the fear she felt.
“Where are we going?”
Lotor didn’t stop. Nor did he look at her. He was too busy trying to recall the route to the servant’s exit. He had thought he had it memorized, but the halls all looked alike to him. Same colors, same patterns, same number of doors and windows. He fought not to show his impatience, noticing he was sweating more and more. As though he was growing hotter with every passing minute.
It didn’t help that Allura was so near to him, her scent overwhelming him. It left him disorientated, and hard pressed to concentrate, Lotor wanting nothing more than to step into her and breath deeply of her hair. His nostrils flared with that desire, but he controlled himself. But only because it would have drawn too much attention to have a guard suddenly accosting a maid for a whiff of her hair.
Soon. His mind whispered to him. Soon he would take her away from this place. And then he could do all he wanted, starting with sniffing every strand of her hair. But first he had to remember, to find the servant’s exit that would lead them to a waiting cruiser. Once inside, it would be a short trip to the city’s space port. And then, onboard his ship, he might finally be able to relax.
“Where are we going?” Allura tried again, her own voice quivering with her fear. It wasn’t eased by his answer, Lotor tossing a gruff word to her.
“Away?” She echoed with a frown. “Away where…? To Doom?” Her fear didn’t make her so far gone as to not notice the way he hesitated. That was interesting, Allura begginning to harbor hope that it wasn’t that God forsaken planet he intended to take her to. But as interesting as that was, it was also troubling, Allura realizing if he didn’t take her to the obvious place how would Keith and the other members of the Voltron Force find her? She began to despair all over again, wondering how long she would remain this man’s prisoner.
~You have to be strong.~ She told herself. Allura wished she could feel as confidant as she sounded, her whole body trembling. Allura would feel better if she could have left some clue behind, but there had been no time. Nor did she know where they were going, Lotor remaining tightlipped on the subject.
Lotor was this close to growling in frustration. He felt completely turned around. Why did these halls have to be so similar in design? He wasn’t even sure they hadn’t been walking in circles for the past few minutes! Were they any farther from the board room then when they had started? But he was beyond asking for help, not wanting to call any further attention to himself and Allura.
They’d continue to walk around for what had to be another thirty minutes at least. Finally a break in his favor, a pair of chatting maids wheeling a cart pass. It’s dirty plates and mugs signaled a return to the kitchens for a thorough washing. Lotor knew if he got to the embassy kitchens, he’d be able to find his way out of this maze. The maids were obvious to the fact Lotor and Allura were following them, the pair continuing their gossip.
Before they could enter the kitchen, Lotor had Allura veer off to the right. A few of the servants looked their way, but no one called out to question them. Lotor wouldn’t put it past them to assume this was a clandestine meeting between guard and maid. He was almost tempted to feed into their assumptions, to steal touches and kisses from Allura. But he was anything if not single minded in his focus. Lotor knew pleasure could come later, he first had to secure the princess. And that involved guiding her out the servant’s exit as surreptitiously as possible.
He couldn’t relax, not even as he pulled open the door. The exit led to into an alleyway, one of many that made up the twists and the turns of the city capital of planet Kirentya. Allura paused before the threshold of the door. She must have known there was no going back once she stepped through it. She actually turned to look over her shoulder, and then Lotor was blocking her view of the corridor that led into the kitchen. With an urging hand on the small of her back, he guided her forward.
She seemed to sigh, but offered no resistance as she stepped through the doorway. Lotor almost smiled, his victory almost apparent. Even if Allura was to run, there was nowhere to go save for the end of this alleyway. And waiting positioned there was the cruiser, a near nondescript vehicle that had no noticeable markings on it. It was plain in it’s gray color, and it’s identifying numbers had been sawed off.
The driver, another Drule cloaked in illusion, was outside. As Allura approached, he looked her over, eyebrows raised. “Mara?” He asked, and then Lotor stepped out into the light.
“Ah…” A smile from the driver. “You got her.” He straightened, and walked over to the rear door of the cruiser. It was unlocked, and pulled open without even a protesting groan. “Well, let’s get going then. The sooner we’re gone from this place, the better.”
“Lotor…” Allura had paused before the cruiser, her eyes taking on a pleading look. “Stop this…please…”
“There’s nothing to stop.” He answered her tonelessly. Her frustration was tangible, Allura blinking owlishly. It was an effort to keep her tears at bay, and Lotor found himself moving to touch her face. Again she flinched which made his jaw clench in response. “You won’t always fear my touch.” He told her. Lotor wondered who he was trying to reassure, her or himself.
“Please….I..I’m not above begging…” Allura said. “Just let me go…just walk away…..”
Did she not know what it would cost him to do as she asked? It went beyond the tortures he would suffer at his father’s hands. His heart would break if he left now without her. He let the refusal fill his eyes, and she let out a sound that was very much a sob.
“Damn you.” She whispered, turning away from him. But she didn’t try to bolt, instead climbing into the cruiser’s back. Lotor felt confusion in the moment. This was a time when he should have been feeling exultation. He had finally caught her, and nothing in the heavens or the earths would stop him from keeping her. And yet with one phrase, she had nearly undone him, Lotor feeling pain in his chest.
It was a pain that kept him from moving, Lotor staring into the cruiser. Allura had crawled over to the other end, and was purposefully keeping from looking his way. She was rigid with her displeasure. Lotor had to remind himself it wouldn’t always be like this, that once Allura got over her fear of him, she would come to love him. To be happy with him. To want the same things from him that he wanted from her.
“If you’re going to do this…” The driver began, drawing Lotor’s attention to him. “Then you better do it fast. Waiting won’t make it any easier.”
“You’re right.” Nodded Lotor, but he couldn’t even muster up a smile. He was too busy thinking of how to calm Allura, to soothe and appease her anger and her hurt. With a sigh that spoke of how just how formidable he thought the appointed task was, Lotor slid into the cruiser. The driver shut the door behind him, then hurried to get into the front seat. Lotor paid him no mind, a dividing partition raising up to give him and Allura some much needed privacy.
He didn’t immediately press in on her, keeping what he thought was a respectable distance from her. She didn’t acknowledge him, staying huddled by the window. Lotor knew the view couldn’t be as fascinating as she pretended it to be. It was all side streets they traveled on, the view nothing but houses for the miles yet to come. “Allura…” It felt good to speak her name, felt good to stop pretending she was someone that she was not. “Allura…look at me.”
He reached out with his hand, touching her shoulder. She immediately twisted, turning a stony gaze on him. It was a cold look she gave him, one leeched of all warmth and feeling. “You will get nothing from me.” She announced. Her voice was more spirited than her expression, Allura haughty.
“It’s a pity then…” Lotor said, trying not let his voice sound too harsh. “Because I will settle for nothing less than your everything.”
The maid’s face paled, Allura blinking rapidly. “Ev….everything?” She seemed stunned by the word, and even more shaken when he gave her a stiff nod. “You won’t have it!” She decided at last. “The only thing I will give you is my anger and my hate…!”
“I’m prepared to accept that too.” Lotor said to Allura’s surprise. “But Allura, you must realize. Eventually the time will come when those are not enough. For me, or for you. You will give, and I will take.”
She tried not to shiver at those words. He sounded as though he was both making a promise and a threat. She wondered which would make it more fearsome. Allura glared at Lotor, feeling her eyes were growing wet but not quite dripping tears. She fought not to give in to them, to not give him the satisfaction of becoming just another caterwauling female before him.
~Never let him see you are frightened.~ She chanted in her mind. ~Never let him think you are weak.~ But it was difficult to maintain her composure, especially with Lotor staring steadily at her. He looked expectant, as though he couldn’t wait for her surrender. She blew out a breath, and then spoke in a level tone. “Kidnapping is a capital offense on many planets.”
“Yes, it is.” He agreed. “But then most of what I have done is criminal in the eyes of the Alliance.” And what was one more crime, when he stood poised to get everything he had ever yearned for? He let that yearning fill his eyes, let it translate into his touch as he reached for her. But again he was thwarted, Allura glaring at him.
“And what of the people in the embassy? Do you intend to have your men slaughter each and every one of them?”
He wasn’t taken aback, having expected her to be concerned about Doom’s plans. Lotor gave a causal shrug, trying to appear uncaring. “It is out of my hands…”
“You can stop this!” protested Allura.
“I cannot.” She made a sound of frustration, not understanding. “What happens now in that embassy, for good or for bad, no longer involves me. Or you.” He added.
“How can you say that? Of course it involves us….it’s your men…they’re waiting for your command…”
“They’re waiting for a command…but who will give it, I cannot say.”
Allura frowned at that. “You’re talking so cryptically. Why?” Her frown deepened at his smile, no tangible answers coming forthwith. “I don’t understand you.” She grumbled, then huffed indignant at his answer.
“That’s fine. Understanding will come in time.” She knew what the implication was. That together they would have all the time in the world to reach that understanding. Allura wondered how she could escape that fate, wondered if they were far enough from the embassy for it to be safe for her to attempt an escape. But she was also sure Lotor would have some long distance way of communicating his orders to his men. She settled back with a sigh, her attention riveted on the window.
He let her have a few moments to her thoughts, Lotor staring at her with unwavering intensity. It unsettled her to be the focus of a man, any man’s attention. Let alone the prince of Doom, whose rumored depravity knew no bounds. She harbored no illusions as to what he would attempt to do to her once they reached their destination. Allura could only pray that Keith and the other members of her team would find her before she was victimized too badly.
She fought not to shake even harder, unaware that Lotor had noticed her every tremble from the start. He knew of her fear, knew what she expected of him. He didn’t know if he could reassure her, if he could promise to behave himself until she was ready. It was difficult to control himself, his every instinct goading him onwards, telling him to touch her. To hold her and never let her go. Not even the maid’s illusion could dissuade his interest in Allura. What form she wore was inconsequential, it was the person she was beneath the illusion that mattered.
Bits of her were taking hold of the illusion, most telling were her eyes. They ran the gamut of Allura’s feelings, stone cold one moment, fiery in defiance the next. And of course there was her scent. The illusion hadn’t been able to hide or erase it. She smelled like flowers, like lilacs and lilies. Lotor remembered the first time he had smelled her, how he had gone crazy trying to identify the scents associated with her.
It would take time, flowers being brought to him that were identical to the ones Allura grew in her garden. He’d carefully sniff each and every one until he found the ones that reminded him of the princess of Arus. It had made him feel better to know this about her, even if his actions made his father think him half deranged. Lotor quickly squashed down the memories trying to come to the surface. Memories that whispered of what had happened once Zarkon got over his shock of the flowers.
It would help if he had something pleasant to distract himself with. Lotor shifted forward those final inches to Allura, pressing his body against hers. She immediately stiffened, but did not turn to face him. Not even when he began to touch her hair, his gloved fingers seeking out the pins that held her hair up in it’s prudish bun. Allura whispered a curt word, bidding him to stop. He ignored her, unraveling her bun into chaos.
The illusion extended to her hair, making it look a dull dishwater gray. But it couldn’t hide the silken softness, Lotor pulling off one glove to touch her hair directly. Allura’s breath seemed to rasp louder out of her, the girl tolerating his touches but barely. He couldn’t let her displeasure ruin the enjoyment he felt, Lotor bending his face towards her hair. The smell was stronger near her scalp, Lotor knowing she enjoyed a shampoo that was made from the crushed flowers of her garden.
He smelled her scent to his heart’s content, and felt a peace that had long since eluded him. This was true paradise, to sit here with the woman he loved, and enjoy such a simple pleasure. A pleasure many would take for granted. He sighed, and began rubbing his cheek against her hair, marveling at the softness.
Allura tried to shift away when Lotor began sniffing at her hair. But there was little room to escape. The prince had her pinned in between him and the window. His hands were finger deep in her hair, stroking in a manner that was all too pleasant. Allura didn’t want to like anything Lotor did, especially not the strangeness of having a Drule smell her hair. Her dislike was only lessened by the fact that sniffing at her hair was less offensive than anything else she had expected him to do.
She told herself to let him have this moment. That she could endure worse things than a little hair play. But she would rather not find out how much worse things could get for her, Allura trying to keep her mind from running wild. Especially when he let go of her hair to place his hands on her shoulders. She could feel the heat of his ungloved hand, burning through the thin fabric of the maid’s uniform. She wondered why he ran so hot, and then a new concern took her as Lotor pressed a kiss into the nape of Allura’s neck.
She couldn’t help it, she made a hiss of sound. She shrugged her shoulders in an awkward attempt to dislodge his hands. Lotor merely smoothed them down the length of her arms, the caress bringing up goose bumps beneath her sleeves. Any touch was unwelcome, Allura fearing where his hands would land next. She cared not for how gentle those hands were in regard to her, Allura knowing they were capable of violent things. She might almost prefer his violence to this kind deception, Allura fearful of Lotor in more ways than one.
But he didn’t turn savage or impatient though he did keep on touching her. His hands covered hers, Lotor pressing his fingers in between the spaces of hers. It was like this that he brought the arm nearest to him up, her hand being raised to his lips. He kissed her fingertips, and though she wanted to remain completely impassive, Allura turned to glance over her shoulder at him.
What she saw unsettled her. Lotor looked completely happy, content with such a small gesture of affection. He actually smiled when she met his eyes, and Allura let out an indignant hmph. She hurriedly turned back to the window, pretending to ignore him completely. But it wasn’t easy to dismiss him, especially not when he held her hands in his.
She had expected many things of the Prince of Doom. And in some ways Lotor was living up to her assumptions. But in other ways, he was different, unsettling. This gentleness he currently exhibited towards her was unnerving. In more ways than one. And all because she wasn’t prepared for it. And without preparation, she wasn’t sure she would know how to fight against it or him. It was almost enough to make Allura hope for the real demon of Doom to emerge before her, regardless of the cost Lotor’s true nature would have on her.