“It’s all right.” Lotor said out loud, his tone reassuring. “Vorlac will be just fine.”
“Has there been any change?” Allura asked, rising to stand. She would approach him, hands reaching for the tray he carried. He’d let her take it from him, Lotor thinking Allura might want to keep busy with even the smallest of tasks.
“Vorlac’s awake now.” Lotor told her, letting the door fall close behind him. “He’s not exactly thrilled with what happened to his leg. No doubt Qualenn will have her hands full with consoling him.” Lotor let out a chuckle, though it was a forced sound. “Drule males aren’t known for being the best of patients.”
“I didn’t know that.” Allura admitted, setting down the tray on a low to the floor glass table. Her shoulders seemed to sag, Allura’s gaze staying lowered. “There’s a lot I don’t know about the Drules.”
“You can change that.” Lotor assured her. “All you have to do is ask. Take the time to get to know us.”
“I will.” But it was obvious she was still troubled, fingers picking up a round red fruit. Playing with it, rather than eating it. He wasn’t sure what to do, what to say. Allura wasn’t being forthcoming about her upset. But Lotor was pretty sure Vorlac’s accident wasn’t the sole cause for Allura’s tears. She was too upset, too unsettled for someone who wasn’t yet her friend.
He didn’t know how to find out what was bothering her so. Not without a whole lot of picking and prying. He feared any attempt to do that, would cause Allura to break down and given in to the tears she was fighting to hold back. And he didn’t want that. Nor did he want to ignore the problem completely, Lotor hoping Allura would open up and talk to him of her own accord.
He sat down besides her, but made no move to take anything off the tray. Allura still made no attempt to eat the fruit, just turning it round and round in her hand. Outside the barred windows, it was growing dark. And with nightfall, it would grow cold. At least it had finally stopped raining! Even hours later, Lotor still felt the chill of the sudden storm. A chill that had little to do with how cold the water had been, and everything to do with the accident that had followed. They had been lucky that no one else had been hurt besides Vorlac. But Ryder and Alexandria were still missing.
A search party had been sent out to find them. Neither Ryder nor the priestess had been dressed to weather the night’s cold. Lotor could only hope that freezing was the only problem they faced, the prince not wanting to imagine something worse had happened. Given how the Nerianes had reacted to the sound of the thunder, Lotor felt the odds were in favor of the mount the pair had ridden going just as berserk as Vorlac’s own had done.
He almost sighed then. He didn’t want to further worry Allura with that sound, Lotor at last reaching for one of the cups. It was warm wine contained inside it, Lotor trying not to make a face in complaint. Warm wine was better than no wine, as far as he was concerned.
He would sit there, savoring the taste of the wine. Warm though it was, it still held it’s bitter sweet taste. One glass wasn’t enough to get him drunk, though Lotor was careful to keep from drinking any more. He couldn’t trust what he would say and do around Allura, how he might act the pushy, amorous, love sick fool. He had to retain his wits about him, and not just to keep from alienating Allura with unwanted advances. He feared too much wine and he would reveal all to her, paint her a vivid picture of all he had endured in the name of his love for her.
He still hadn’t had a chance to have Qualenn and the doctor look over his stitches. With Vorlac’s accident, and Allura’s subsequent reaction to it, there had been no time. Lotor had preferred to sit with Allura, and comfort her as best he could rather than distract the limited medical staff from tending to Vorlac’s injuries. The man had been pretty cut up, the Nerianes’ hooves lashing out, lacerating his arms as Vorlac had brought them up to guard his face.
In the end, they had had to shoot that particular beast. The Nerianes hadn’t been calming down, seeming determined to do more than just break Vorlac’s bones. It’s reactions had been frightening the other beasts, Lotor struggling to keep his from throwing him from it’s back. Even as he and the others fought to get their mounts under control, one of the men, a Drule named Lasindas was sliding off his ride’s back. He hadn’t even bothered to hold onto the reins, letting that particular Nerianes run off as he took aim at the animal threatening Vorlac.
They had moved pretty quickly after that, working together to move the dead Nerianes off of Vorlac’s leg. It was the weight of the beast, landing on Vorlac that had broken the bone. Lotor had done what he could to make Vorlac comfortable, kneeling down in the grass as he worked to try and stop the bleeding. Lasindas had helped him, while another, Turopic, had taken the sole remaining Nerianes, and ridden it back to the mansion.
It had been a risky thing Turopic had done, the Nerianes no longer tame but made wild because of the storm. But they had needed help, especially for Vorlac. Lotor was grateful nothing worse had happened to the man, and could only hope the same thing would prove true for Ryder and the priestess. No one knew for certain where they were, but they knew there were out there without a ride. The Nerianes they had taken had returned to the stables, dirty and wild eyed and looking for it’s daily feed.
Lotor wished he had known about how the Nerianes reacted to loud sounds. But it had been years since he had been on Simestia, and his memories were distorted so that he remembered the nightmares of Zarkon’s abuse more clearly than anything else. If anything pleasant or fun had happened on Simestia, he had forgotten about it. The good memories were simply overpowered by the bad.
But he didn’t want to think about that. Didn’t want nor need to get upset by wasting his thoughts on Zarkon and his past. Lotor would much rather look to the future. A future he intended to share with Allura. A future that even now he was working on, Lotor feeling hopeful that Allura sat besides him. His hope seemed to build, the more Allura came to accept the Drules. If she could accept that they weren’t all evil, then she could accept anything. Including Lotor’s love!
He gave her a sidelong glance, Allura still playing with the red fruit. Her eyes still shone with her upset, her gaze distant as she stared down at the fruit in her hands. It was clear to Lotor she wasn’t much aware of what she was doing with it, the girl more intent on whatever thoughts she was having. He wasn’t sure he should intrude on them, but more than that Lotor was unsure of what to say to her in this moment. They hadn’t had much of a real conversation, at least not one who didn’t lead to Allura challenging him to return to Doom. Pushing him to face his abuser.
Once he would have done just that, Lotor having dreamt of the day he would kill Zarkon. But that was long ago, before he had realized how much he had to lose, if he failed to kill his tormentor. Allura would be in danger, and so would so many of his friends and associates. Lotor didn’t care if Zarkon killed him, but one thing the prince couldn’t abide by was the thought of the others suffering because of him.
But he couldn’t save everyone. It frustrated him to have to leave so many behind on Doom. To let so many of his people continue to suffer under Zarkon’s rule. But what was worse? To condemn everyone, or to save a few? It came down to a choice, and Lotor’s was to save those he could. He wished it could be different, but Lotor was nowhere near ready to believe in Allura’s dreams. In her hopes and ambitions to save all of the Denubian Galaxy from the tyrant, King Zarkon.
Now he really did want to give into that sigh, Lotor knowing he and Allura would never see eye to eye on this. It made him brood, the prince drinking down the last of his wine and wishing he could have some more. He wouldn’t, but it didn’t mean he couldn’t hope for another glass.
In the end, it was Allura who broke the silence between them. Her fingers would clench around the fruit, bruising it’s delicate skin in the process. She’d keep on staring at it, but her gaze was no longer unfocused. “Lotor…earlier…you had a lot of blood on your clothes…”
He had changed since then, putting on new shirt and pants. His other shirt had been so bloody, he didn’t think it was worth trying to clean. But the pants were salvageable. “Yes, I did.” Lotor said in reply to Allura’s comment. She seemed to be waiting for him to say something more, the bruised fruit starting to turn in her hands once more. “When the accident happened, Vorlac bled heavily. I knelt over him, using what little field training I had to tend to his wounds.”
She looked towards him then, a spark of interest in her eyes. “You’ve had training as a medic?”
“Not a lot…not as much as I could.” Lotor admitted. “But I do know some basic skills, ways to address wounds and keep a comrade from bleeding out on the field before the real doctors can get to him.”
She seemed to be processing that. “I thought…” She lowered her eyes, as though Allura was ashamed by what she was about to say. “Well…I didn’t think you would know how to save people.”
He could guess at what she meant by that, Allura having assumed for the longest time he was just a cold blooded killer. “For the longest time I didn’t.” Lotor told her. “I couldn’t even save myself or my mother. What chance did I stand at saving another?”
“And yet you still learned the skills you needed….” Allura pointed out.
“Not without a few hard lessons first.”
“You’ve had a lot of those haven’t you?” She seem flustered at the look he gave her, Allura suddenly shaking her head no. “Tell me about it. That which motivated you. That which got you thinking, willing to try saving another?”
He was quiet a moment, just shifting through his memories. “I saw too many people dying around me.” Lotor finally said. “Too many lost to wounds that didn’t have to be fatal…they bled out, or succumb to infection long before someone with the proper training could tend to them.” He sighed then. “I didn’t always know the people who died. Sometimes I didn’t even know their name, just their rank. There was too many soldiers to keep track of, and always more to replace the ones who are lost. It gets easy to be lost in the shuffle, to be forgotten.”
He set down his cup, then leaned back against the couch’s cushions. “The Drule military academy is more concerned with making soldiers than teaching us other skills. Hell, for those who can’t afford more than a few weeks of schooling, they are ill prepared for the true horrors and rigors of war. They’re little more than cannon fodder, sent out to die on the battlefield. Of course, sometimes it doesn’t matter how much training you’ve had…one lucky shot from the other side, and you too could end up dead…”
He almost could hear the laser fire, hear the explosions of photon beams crashing into ships. Smell the smoke, and choke on it. Back then there had been one too many close calls, death waiting at every turn. But Lotor had wanted to live, to thrive and be something more than Zarkon’s punching bag. He hadn’t yet had much of a reason beyond that. It would still be years before he saw and fell in love with Allura of Arus. But Lotor had always felt something was waiting for him, some bright and better future than the life he had had then.
“Lotor?” Allura’s concerned gaze was on him, the girl touching his hand. She drew him out of the potent memories, Lotor giving her a bland smile.
“I was in a better position than many. My ties to the King allowed me greater pull than most. I used my connections, and insisted on learning from those who had training in the medic’s field. I can’t say I have a talent for that kind of thing. I’m better at fighting and coming up with tactics. But there were other Drules under my command who did have the skill, and the eagerness to learn. I can’t say Zarkon was pleased those weeks we took off to learn how to play nurse….” But he had been too far out of Zarkon’s reach for the King to lay a hand on Lotor.
Another smile, this one proud. “But when he saw the results, how less soldiers were dying, morale increasing, more worlds being captured as a result…he grudgingly let this slide. He didn’t make changes to the Academy’s curriculum, but he didn’t forbid those of us who know how to dress wounds, from teaching others the same. Provided we did it in our spare time.”
“Which you did…?” It was more question that statement, Lotor nodding in response.
“How could I be so selfish as to keep such knowledge to myself? I passed it on to any willing to learn. And believe me there was many. Some who I dare say hoped to leave the soldiers’ life behind and become a doctor once they saved enough money to further their own education.” His expression darkened there, remembering not many of those who had shared that dream with him, had survived the wars that had followed.
“It was tough…” Allura acknowledged. “Trying to save up enough money to not only take care of their families, but to maybe get an education so they could do something besides fight…”
“It was tough just staying alive long enough to earn those wages.” Lotor told her. “Zarkon doesn’t care. Throw enough soldiers at a problem, and eventually a solution will happen. Even if thousands, no millions have to die…”
“Well…yes. The invasion attempts on Arus, the fights against Voltron? Those are responsible for the single most loss of Drule lives in the history of the Doom Empire. But Zarkon is adamant that all is takes is one win on Doom’s side, for Arus to fall. For Arus to be worth all the lives lost, the resources spent on subduing your world and people.” Lotor scowled then. “Zarkon doesn’t take well to defeat. He keeps coming, keeps attacking, until he has what he wants or destroys it.”
“He has to be stopped…” Allura said, but her tone wasn’t quite so fierce as it had been when previously discussing putting an end to Zarkon’s reign. Lotor inwardly suppressed a sigh, not wanting to get into another endless discussion about why they should or should not return to Doom.
“That he does.” Lotor softly agreed. “But it won’t be us that does it.”
“Doesn’t it frustrate you?” Allura asked. “Doesn’t it drive you mad to know he still lives. That he still sits on the throne, terrorizing your people? That through his actions, he forces the Drule into roles of monsters, letting the rest of the galaxy believe the worst of them?”
“Of course it does!” Lotor snapped back, tone more harsh than he wanted. “It’s not right. Not any of it. But what else can I do?!” He ran a hand through his hair, the action speaking volumes of his agitation. “There’s no way to stop him. No way to get close enough to take him out. Not without him killing a lot of people first.”
“People will die either way…” Allura seemed loathe to point that out. “But if Zarkon were to be killed sooner instead of later, we would minimize the amount of people that had to die…Lotor, you have to realize…many more will die so long as Zarkon lives and keeps his iron grip on the Empire’s throne.”
Damn, but he could acknowledge Allura was right about that point. More people would die, and the unlucky ones would suffer for Zarkon’s twisted brand of amusement first. The King would keep on attacking, finding new worlds to invade once Arus fell. Would even the whole of the Denubian Galaxy be enough for Zarkon’s greed and ambition? Or would he turn his eye elsewhere in his endless quest for power?
It was unsettling thoughts, ones Lotor didn’t want to examine too closely. He wanted to hold onto the dream that going to a different galaxy would leave them free of Zarkon’s grasp, save them from his abuse. But there was no guarantee of that. It could be years before it happened, but one day Zarkon might set his eyes elsewhere. What would they do then? Lotor didn’t know, not liking the thought of always being on the run. But something inside him wasn’t ready to embrace the ideas Allura had. The idea of the Drules uniting with the Galaxy Alliance, working together with Voltron and Garrison to storm Doom and take down Zarkon.
“I admire you for your ideals Allura…but I don’t think you’ve thought it through, the chances for the Alliance and Garrison actually wanting to team up with the Drule…” Lotor abruptly stood, needing to distance himself from Allura. To turn his back on that imploring gaze of hers. “There is too much hatred and animosity between our worlds….too many people fear the Drule.”
“Yes, but it’s because they don’t know what has been happening to the Drule!” Allura quickly pointed out.
Lotor walked over to one of the room’s windows, staring out between the bars. “They haven’t wanted to know.” Lotor retorted. “They haven’t bothered to find out the truth. No one has. No one has cared to try.”
That was one thing Allura couldn’t deny, the girl sounding frustrated. “Zarkon hasn’t made it easy for us on that point. He’s helped to seed and grow the fear of your people. He’s turned the Drule into an enemy that needs to be vanquished. But we can’t let people go on thinking that. We have to do what we can to get the truth out.” He didn’t turn to look at her, though Lotor heard Allura’s movements. “Lotor, please!”
“Please what?” He all but hissed, turning to glare at her. “Do you really think any of this will change things? Will make things better for the Drule?”
“Yes, of course I think that way! After all, when I found out the truth, I was able to correct my way of thinking.”
He couldn’t even smile then without it being bitter. “But not everyone is like you, Allura. Not everyone is as kind and forgiving as you are.”
For one-second it looked as though he had succeeded in stumping her, Allura having no quick retort for him. She blinked several times in rapid succession, Lotor fearing she was about to start crying. He made a move to step towards her, as though Lotor could ward off Allura’s tears. And then she spoke, almost angry then. “Not everyone is…but that doesn’t mean there aren’t people who are! You do yourself and your people a great disservice in denying them this chance!”
Just like that he froze in place, all desire to comfort her leaving him. She seemed to realize she had went too far with her words, some of Allura’s anger leaving her. “Lotor…”
“You still see things in absolutes, don’t you?” Lotor asked her. “Your world is still so black and white that you think others will follow suit. That others will be like you and want to help the Drule even after all we’ve had to do under Zarkon’s rule.”
“Why wouldn’t they want to help those who have been oppressed? If they know that the Drules did not want to do those things, that many had no choice but to do as their King commanded or die? The people of the Denubian Galaxy can’t be that cruel, can’t be that malicious. They will acknowledge what the Drule have been through and then…”
“You believe in the best of people.” He gave the faintest of smiles to show he meant it as praise. “Even after all you’ve been through. All your world has suffered. But not everyone can put aside their negativity, their grudges. Especially not that easily. Not after all my people have had to do under Zarkon’s commands. Allura, we’ve enslaved whole worlds, and killed millions more. Doom had been relentless. At any single point in time, fighting over a dozen wars at once. Under Zarkon’s rule, we’ve destroyed whole civilizations, used up planets’ resources. There’s been very little good to come out of the Drule occupying a captured world. There’s a reason why we are the monsters that the rest of the Denubian Galaxy fears.”
“Yes…but….if they knew…” She sounded unsure then, and looked frustrated by it.
“It would take time to heal the rift between the worlds and Doom.” Lotor continued. “It would be a huge undertaking, just to try that. Let alone to unite the worlds with the common purpose of fighting to free the Drules from Zarkon’s twisted rule.”
“I’m willing to take that time…”
“We would all be in danger.” Lotor harshly pointed out. “Every minute working against us. Time would be in Zarkon’s favor. He’d send people after us, to capture and torture, even kill us. Taking out any and all of our allies. He’d leave us weak and fighting amongst ourselves. Especially with the few people who would willingly advocate for the Drule now dead.”
“You’re wanting me to see it as hopeless.” Allura frowned at him. “But I won’t! I’ll keep holding onto my beliefs, my hopes. To do otherwise is to give in to Zarkon completely. To let him win! And as long as you run from him, you gain no real victory. He still possesses power over you….only you can’t seem to see that!”
He brought his fingers to pinch the bridge of his nose. He felt Allura’s exasperation, even if it was caused by different things for them both. “I’m doing what I can to be safe. And not just me, but the people around me. Can you honestly say you want me to put them back in Zarkon’s reach? To see people like Vorlac and Qualenn suffer?”
“No….no….I understand they’ve been through enough.” Allura said. “We all have. But I don’t see how they or you, can get any closure so long as Zarkon is free to continue his reign of terror!”
“Real life doesn’t always end like the stories. Villains don’t always pay, and the good people don’t always get their happy endings. Sometimes they have to settle for doing what they can just to survive!”
“But can you live with just that?” Allura asked. Damn her, but he didn’t know, an uncertain feeling festering inside him. Deep down inside, Lotor knew it wasn’t right that Zarkon continued to live. That he continued to be in a position where he could do the most damage, hurting Drule and human alike. Lotor felt as though he was stuck between a rock and a hard place, trapped helpless as he watched Zarkon continue to have his way.
“I’ll have to.” Lotor said out loud, tone stubborn. It earned a loud, exasperated sigh from Allura. And with that sigh, her body seemed to sag, Allura dropping down onto a chair. She’d bring her hands up to cover her face, but she wasn’t crying. She just seemed so tired in the moment, as though Lotor had truly defeated her. He didn’t know what he hoped for in the moment, save he wished for this discussion to be at an end.
“Are some things really that impossible to heal from?” She finally asked, lowering her hands. She looked ready to weep, as though her frustrations and tiredness had driven her to that point. She looked exhausted, as though trying to convince him had drained Allura of all her energies. He hated seeing her that weary, Lotor moving towards her. Dropping to kneel down before her.
“Sometimes it seems that way.” Lotor finally said. He gazed up at her, his hands resting besides hers on the arm rests of the chair. A shift from either one of them would have their hands touching, but the two of them remained still. Just staring at one another. He could see the sorrow in Allura’s eyes, the frustration that led to a single tear slipping down her cheek. Lotor lifted a hand to that cheek, using his thumb to brush over the tear’s trail. He didn’t do anything like tell Allura not to cry. And save for that one tear, no more fell.
“It’s different for everyone.” Lotor added. “Some people can bounce back more easily from pain. While others have suffered so much, they seem hopelessly trapped in their pain.”
“Maybe those who feel trapped, need someone else to guide them out of it…” Allura suggested. “Maybe they’re crying out for help, and don’t even realize it…”
Her words struck a resonance inside him, Lotor wondering if he was like that. So trapped in his pain, in the past’s torments, that he couldn’t get out on his own. That he didn’t know for sure bothered him, Lotor preferring to think he was taking actions to help himself. He had known he couldn’t remain within Zarkon’s reach. The tyrant had been ready to kill him, no longer content to just beat Lotor for his perceived failures. Zarkon had wanted results, and the kind of results the King wanted was things Lotor wasn’t prepared to give him. Not if it meant Allura would be broken, even killed. Her world enslaved. To let Zarkon get his hands on Allura after all Lotor’s endeavors to keep her free of such harm? It would have made a mockery of everything Lotor had done, all the sacrifices he had endured.
He had removed himself from Zarkon’s reach, from the man’s very notice. As far as the King was concerned, Lotor was dead. And yet he still had power over Lotor, the past and it’s torments holding the prince back. Keeping him from acting a way that would make Allura proud. She wanted him to go back to Doom, to fight to free his people, to face Zarkon, even kill him. But there was something holding Lotor back, the prince remembering similar attempts in the past. How he had failed to come even close to laying a hand on Zarkon. Even worse was the thought of all the people who would pay should Lotor fail this time, Allura, Ryder, Tesla, and so many other faces coming to him now. How could he endanger them? And yet how could he turn his back on all of the Doom Empire? It made him feel selfish, even as Lotor was trying to do his best. To do what he could to ensure some people could survive, escape from Zarkon’s reach.
Lotor wished things were different. Wished he was a stronger man. But Lotor like so many others on Doom, had been victims of Zarkon’s abuse for too long. Rather than condition him into a monster that rivaled Zarkon, it had made him something else. Some tormented soul that thought himself too weak to make a true difference. For his own people or the galaxy at large, which is why Lotor took the steps needed to remove Allura from danger. Whether he ran away, or died by Zarkon’s hand, Lotor knew she would have been next on the King’s list to suffer.
“I’m sorry.” Lotor said out loud, resting his head on her knees. “I know you don’t agree with my methods. But I have to do what I can to keep you safe…”
“You’ve been doing that for a long time haven’t you?” Allura’s tone was quiet, Lotor almost flinching when her fingers touched his hair. He calmed down when he realized she didn’t mean to push him away. Instead Allura’s fingers were gentle, stroking over his mane of white hair in a soothing manner. “Keeping me safe…?”
“Always.” Lotor kept his cheek pressed against her knees, his eyes partially closed as he enjoyed the way she ran her fingers through his hair. “No matter the consequence, I knew the one thing I could not tolerate was if something happened to you. If that monster’s cruelty was turned on you.” It would have devastated him to allow Allura to fall into Zarkon’s hands. That might have been the final straw towards ruining Lotor’s own fragile psyche.
“Thank you.” Allura said it softly, Lotor’s eyes snapping open in surprise. Gratitude was the last thing he had expected from her, the prince not thinking Allura properly understood all he had done, the risks he had taken, the punishments he had endured.
“I didn’t do it for your thanks…” Lotor told her, Allura’s fingers stilling on his scalp.
“Then why did you do it?” She asked, and he smiled then.
“I did it because I had to. Because I could not live with myself if something bad were to happen to you.” He looked up at her, lifting his head off her knees. “Isn’t that what one does, what one feels, for the person they love?” He frowned when he saw the tears falling, for making her cry was the last thing Lotor had wanted to do!
“I’m sorry…” She said in between sniffles, her hands brushing angrily at her eyes. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me today.”
Lotor didn’t know either, just knowing she had been emotional for hours now. But the words she had just said, proved she wasn’t ready to share the source of her upset, Allura content to feign ignorance on that front. He felt a little frustrated, knowing he couldn’t help her with her upset if Allura didn’t talk to him about the cause. Nor could he bear the sight of her tears, Lotor rising to his feet. Reaching for her, pulling an unresisting Allura out of the chair.
“Shh…” He crooned softly, holding her against him. She hesitated a moment, before curling her fists on the front of his shirt. She wasn’t returning the hug, but neither was she as stiff and resistant as she had once been to being embraced by him. It was a kind of progress, though Lotor didn’t dwell on what it meant. He knew they had a long way to go, before Allura could work through her own hangs ups about being touched by him.
At least she wasn’t panicking, though Lotor could hardly say Allura was relaxed in his embrace. He kept her close, but made sure his arms were holding her in an easy to break free of manner, Lotor not wanting her to feel trapped by him. He rested his chin on the top of her head, letting out a low voiced purr in an attempt to distract her from her upset. It seemed to work, Allura letting out one last sniffle before looking up at him.
“You sound like a satisfied house cat.”
“I’m much bigger than a house cat.” Came his retort, Lotor grinning. “And I’m much wilder than one too.” She seemed to be looking at his fangs, as though she needed the reminder that he could be very dangerous if he so chose.
“So I’ve noticed.” She didn’t shiver, but Allura did step back from him. As though she needed to distance herself from that which could prove dangerous to her. He’d never really harm her, and felt frustrated to think Allura might not understand that. But he also remembered how he had talked and treated her those moments as they traveled from Kirentya to Simestia. He had been half delirious with fever, and it had made him say some crazy, down right threatening things. It was a wonder Allura wasn’t more scared of him than she was, given how often he had talked about them becoming intimate like lovers.
Lotor had almost ruined everything with talk like that. And yet he couldn’t behave entirely around her, especially at night. Especially when he finally had the chance to hold her. He’d keep on holding her when they slept, even once the mansion’s wiring was repaired. She soothed something inside him, kept the nightmares at bay with her nearness.
Maybe someday the time would come when he wouldn’t need Allura to fend off the nightmares. But he wouldn’t stop needing her in different ways, longing for her, desiring her. Some of that yearning must have shown on his face, for Allura turned nervous. She’d actually back up another step, and a third one would have her bumping into the chair. She retained her balance but just barely, Allura turning red faced as she watched him.
Lotor should probably apologize for some of the things he had said and done. He knew enough to know his actions had fed into her panic on the ship, and even partly on Simestia. “Allura, for what it’s worth, I am sorry.”
“For back on the ship. For my behavior. It…it doesn’t excuse it, but I was half out of it from my illness. I said and did things I shouldn’t have….I scared you, and for that I am sorry.” He didn’t quite sigh. “I can’t hide that I want you. That I am eager for you to feel the same love and desires I feel. But I was pushing you for more than you were ready to give.”
Allura looked as though she didn’t know what to say to that, the silence stretching out between them. “I can’t deny I was frightened.” She finally admitted. “But I am beginning to see you are not the man I always thought you to be. That you won’t hurt me in that way.”
“I won’t, I promise!” Lotor stepped towards her, a fist against his chest. She looked wide eyed and startled by his sudden movement, Lotor becoming sheepish. “Sorry…”
“You don’t have to keep apologizing.” She told him. Allura didn’t quite smile as she said that. “I’m just a little jumpy tonight. The storm has gotten all of us nervous.”
“The Nerianes were the worst of all.” Muttered Lotor. “I’m glad you turned down the chance to go riding. It was bad enough with Vorlac getting hurt.”
“Yes, I know.” She sighed. “We were all so scared when word came that there had been an accident…I am just glad Vorlac wasn’t hurt worse than he has been!”
“That makes two of us.” Lotor agreed. From the window, sound came. The low hum of a cruiser’s engines. Allura recognized that sound as well, doing a quick glance towards the window.
“Looks like the search party is back.”
A few seconds later, voices would be heard. And above them all was the welcome sound of Ryder’s voice, the Drule seeming agitated, almost angry. Allura and Lotor would exchange looks, an unspoken agreement hurrying them out of the room.