Pause 03

She was going to be sick. That much Allura was sure of, the princess placing a hand to her mouth as she fought back the urge to gag. But it was no morning sickness that assaulted her this time. At least, she didn’t think it had to do with the baby growing inside her, and more to do with the anxiety she was feeling. An anxiety born on the heels of what she was about to do, the things Allura was set on confessing. It was no wonder she felt so nauseous, the princess thinking she might lose her nerve as well as her lunch before reaching the conference room.

Her complexion had a pale color to it, people were growing concerned. More than a handful of castle staff had stopped Allura in order to inquire about her health, the people visibly worried for their princess. They didn’t know of her condition, not the truth of it at least. But they had suspicions, especially with the fainting and dizzy spells their princess had been suffering. And now she was looking green, her hand constantly pressing to her mouth as she fought the urge to be sick.

She had a thought that they were going to put it together, figure out what was really wrong before she could confess to her closest friends. It would make things a million times worse, Allura wondering what would be worse. Their hurt over being kept in the dark, or their rage at what had been done to her. She even wondered if they would disapprove of her decisions concerning the baby she carried, Allura closing her eyes as she paused just outside the conference room’s door.

Pidge, of course, already knew about her condition. Had known for months now, much to her embarrassment. He had tried to be understanding where everything was concerned save for one thing. The baby she carried. It was Pidge who had first suggested to her all those months ago, that she either abort the child, or give it up for adoption. He had radiated stern disapproval when she had refused either option. She simply couldn’t kill an innocent child, nor abandon it no matter who it’s father was. Even if that father was her enemy, a man who had brought devastation to Arus, and had drugged her.

If her face wasn’t so pale, it would have flushed with anger as Allura fought the memories. She remembered how she had acted, how she had initiated each and every sexual encounter. All thanks to Haggar’s potion, a potent drug that had perverted Allura’s very nature. It was the potion that had made her sleep with Lotor, it was the potion that had caused much of the troubles Arus and Allura was suffering now.

It was frightening, the thought of admitting to just exactly what had happened between her and Lotor. But also confusing, Allura not sure just how much she should reveal. It wasn’t that she intended to go into explicit details, but there was some things she had yet to decide on. Such as admitting the sex had been more than once, Allura wondering if she should admit that the first seduction had happened inside the castle’s own walls.

She was beginning to chew on her lip again, a fact that would cause Miranda to have fits if she saw that. She felt a dull pain as she did that, Allura’s lip still not healed from her earlier abuse of it. Her hand lifted several times towards the handle of the door, and each time Allura hesitated. She didn’t know if she could do this, and that made the nausea rise stronger in her.

~Be strong.~ She told herself, watching her hand make a fist. ~You have to do this.~ She nearly screamed when a voice from behind her, greeted her.

“Hello princess.”

“Pidge!” She whirled around, seeing the boy’s sympathetic eyes looking up at her. “I thought everyone was already inside the conference room.”

“Just about.” Pidge told her. He offered no explanations for his last minute arrival, studying her instead. “You don’t look so good.”

“Then it matches how I feel.” Allura smiled, but it was a weak expression. A pair of castle guards walked by, and Allura lowered her voice to a whisper. “I…I’ve made up my mind.” Pidge’s eyes started to widen behind his glasses’ panes. “Today is the day. I’m going to tell them. Everything.”

“Everything?” Pidge questioned, and Allura hesitated.

“Well…as much as I can before dying of humiliation.” She amended. “Wish me luck?”

“Of course.” Pidge said, then added. “You’re going to need it…” That didn’t make her feel better, Allura sighing as she turned towards the door. Her hands did not reach for the handle, the girl just staring. Pidge’s voice prodded her into motion, the boy pointing out the obvious. “The door’s not gonna open on it’s own.” At her shoulders sagging, he tried to make her feel better. “It will be fine. Sure they’ll be upset, but always remember it’s not you they’ll be mad at, but Lotor!”

“Thanks Pidge…” Allura whispered, and this time managed to touch the handle. She saw how that hand of hers shook, the princess slowly opening the door. Voices greeted her, the small group inside holding a conversation. They were wondering about when Arus’ case would be brought to court, if a hearing would ever happen. Lance was even wondering if Allura had called this meeting to announce some positive news in that direction. Just as quickly, her advisor Coran dashed their hopes, pointing out that he would have known about any such court date well in advance of anyone else on Arus.

For one long moment, Allura just stood in the doorway, listening to them talk. It was Pidge who nudged her forward, the boy walking towards an empty seat next to his friend Hunk. The pilot of yellow lion didn’t quite grin, saying his hellos to Allura and Pidge.

“Ah, perfect timing.” Hunk said. “We were about to go out of our minds with curiosity, trying to figure out why you called this meeting.”

Allura had the thought they would go out of their minds with anger once they heard the truths she had to tell them. Once again the nausea rose, Allura giving a weak look towards Hunk. She couldn’t even smile, and they noticed, turning alarm. They all rose to their feet, concern on their faces as she took an unsteady step forward. Allura thought she might collapse, and it was Nanny who reached her side first.

“Child, you are clearly sick.” Nanny tsked, arms going around Allura for support. Keith was on the opposite side of her, looking at Allura with equal concern.

“What is it princess? What’s wrong with you?”

“There’s nothing wrong with me Keith.” Allura denied, voices raising in protest of that. “At least not in the way you think.” With Nanny’s help, she made it to a chair, the princess gratefully sinking down onto it.

“Not in the way we think?” Keith looked confused. “What do you mean?”

“If you’re not sick, than what is it?” Lance asked. “Princess, don’t try to fool us. We’ve all noticed how these last few months you’ve been off. You’ve been dizzy, even fainted a couple of times. It’s been affecting your piloting…you’ve needed to rest more and more….” His face was worried, and Lance hesitated a moment. “It started not long after that incident with Lotor…”

“That’s true.” Agreed Hunk, as Allura stared at Lance. She was unsettled by how close he was to being right, and she tried not to tremble in her seat. “Ever since he forced that witch’s potion on you…your health has been declining.”

“They poisoned you princess!” exclaimed Nanny, as angry as she was concerned.

“If that is the case…we should have you check in with Doctor Gorma.” added Coran. “Surely he can run some tests, and determine a method to combat the potion’s effects on you.”

“We can beat this princess.” Keith told her. “We won’t let Doom win. Not with this, and not with taking over the planet.”

Depression coursed through her, Allura feeling as though Lotor had already won where her body was concerned. Her eyes lowered, Allura feeling ashamed even before she confessed to anything.

“Princess?” Nanny placed a hand on her shoulder, her voice concerned.

“I’m not sick.” Allura began, and voices immediately began protesting.

“You are in denial.” Nanny said, looking around the room for confirmation. “Tell her she is in denial.”

“Princess Allura, you can’t deny what has been going on.” That was Coran. “You have to take this seriously, you have to take care of yourself. Now more than every, Arus needs it’s princess.”

“Not sick?” Scoffed Lance. “Since when have you ever let anything else keep you from piloting blue lion? Sometimes it felt as though nothing short of you being on your death bed would keep you out of the cockpit!” At those words the room went silent, everyone seeming to pale as a new thought occurred to them.

“Princess…” Hunk’s quiet tone. “You’re….you’re not here to tell us whatever you have is a fatal condition…are you?”

“NO!” Nanny cried out. “I won’t stand for it! The princess is not dying!”

“I’m not dying.” Allura said quickly, wincing as Nanny’s fingers inadvertently squeezed her shoulder. “Thank you for your concern, but it’s nothing quite so severe.” She sighed, realizing she had worried her friends greatly by keeping them in the dark about her condition. She could remedy that right now, Allura taking a deep breath in preparation for what she was about to say. “And you’re right Hunk. This did start all those months ago when I was forced to drink Haggar’s potion.” Another sigh, Allura feeling the room spin as she began to blurt out the truth. “But it’s nothing as lethal as a terminal illness. In fact women go through this every single day….”

“Every single day?” Keith frowned, and Pidge shushed him.

“Let the princess finish.” He nodded encouragement at Allura.

“I…I’m pregnant.” Her statement immediately drew shouts from the group, people leaping to their feet to stare at her aghast. Nanny hands had stilled on Allura’s shoulders, and she didn’t dare turn to see the woman’s expression.

“WHAT?! HOW?!”

“How do you think Keith?” Lance was sarcastic, and angry. It was a bad combination. “She was alone with Lotor for hours onboard his ship. Anything was bound to happen…and did…”

Keith who had gone pale, suddenly turned an interesting shade of angry red. His hands clenched into fists, Allura wondering just what he was thinking to wear such a fierce expression.

“Keith…” Allura began, but he cut her off with a snarl.

“He’s gone too far! I’m going to kill him!” Keith announced, already walking towards the door of the conference room.

Lance and Hunk moved to follow him. “You’ll have to get in line for that captain.” Lance told him.

“Yeah, cause I’m gonna be the first to go after that bastard!”

Allura waited for Nanny to gasp and admonish Hunk for cursing in front of the princess. But the woman didn’t so much as sigh, seeming frozen in place behind Allura’s chair.

The three pilots were arguing to themselves, each wanting to be the one to kill Lotor for his crimes against Allura. They were angry, and their eyes were filled with hurt, though they didn’t look at Allura in this moment. She wondered if the sight of her was too painful for them. If they didn’t start to imagine her with Lotor every time they turned her way. She couldn’t stand the thought of them imagining her being intimate with Lotor, nor could she stand the sound of them arguing.

“Stop it.” Allura slammed her hands on the table. “No one is killing anyone just yet!”

That drew their attention to her, though the three were careful to keep from making eye contact with the princess. “You can’t be serious princess!”

“You have to want that bastard dead!” added Lance. “Especially after what he did to you….”

“Oh believe me, I want Lotor to pay. For that and everything else he has done. But killing him won’t make this go away…won’t change what happened. And right now, we can’t afford to have either one of you go off on some suicide run to try and kill Lotor. Need I remind you? This planet is crawling with Doom ships. Even if you could get close enough to the ship Lotor is on, there’s no guarantee you’d make it back without being hurt in the process.” Allura softened her tone. “And right now I need each and every one of you, here with me.”

Awkward looks on their faces, they shuffled back to their seats. “Sorry princess…” mumbled Hunk. “Wasn’t thinking straight.”

“It was a heat of the moment thing.” Reassured Allura. “Believe me, I understand.” She sighed. “I’m sure killing Lotor wouldn’t help Arus’ case in front of any judge….”

“Hmph, you’re supposing this case ever makes it to court.” Grumbled Lance.

“It has to!” insisted Allura. “It’s the only way to keep Arus free….”

Coran leaned forward in his seat. “As big a concern as that is, we now have a new one.” His eyes seemed to dip down to Allura’s belly.

“That baby…” She whispered, hands going to cover her stomach in a protective manner.

“Yes. The prince of Doom will feel he has a claim. To it and to you. And through you and the child, the planet.” Coran sighed. “This complicates things even further…”

“What’s there to be complicated about?” Lance wondered. “Just abort the baby, and problem solved!”

Allura gasped. “Lance!” But no one else seemed to be shocked by his solution. Not even Coran. What’s worse, Keith was nodding his head in agreement!

“If there was no child…” Coran began, as delicate as he could manage. “Then…”

“No!” interrupted Allura, aghast. “I will not abort my baby. The child is innocent, no matter who it’s father is. I will not have it killed just to make things easier for all of us!” She glared at them all, eyes blazing, expression ready to stare them into submission. Gazes lowered, the men suitably cowed. “Now, we have some time. As far as I know, Lotor isn’t even aware of my condition.”

“You can only keep it from him from so long.” pointed out Pidge. “With that witch of his spying, sooner or later….they’ll discover the truth…and then what?”

“This child will connect Doom and Arus….” added Coran. “There’s no doubt in my mind that Lotor will acknowledge it as his heir….we will have more than one court battle to deal with…”

“You think the prince will try to take the child from Allura?” asked Lance, and Allura’s eyes widened in a panic. Her hands clutched at her belly, the princess frightened of the thought of Lotor taking her baby from her.

“He just might.” Coran sighed. “If it means Allura will bargain with him for the child…if it means he can use the baby to blackmail her into…” He trailed off.

“I won’t let him use this child to manipulate me!” Allura said firmly.

“It won’t stop him from trying.” Keith snapped. It was clear from the look on the captain’s face, he thought the problem would only be solved with the death of Lotor. He looked at Allura, though he wouldn’t meet her eyes. “What will you do if you have to choose? If you have to decide to go be with Lotor to be near your child, to be able to protect your child from his and Zarkon’s influence?”

“No court in their right mind would assign custody to those fiends!” Allura wished she felt the confidence she spoke with.

“Court cases aren’t always fair, especially when money is involved.” Pidge told her, looking sad.

Now it was Allura’s turn to lower her head, knowing he was right. The case of Arus was proof of that.

“We’ll have to prepare for any eventuality.” Coran said when Allura remained silent. “You won’t be able to continue to pilot blue lion…”

“Coran….”

“No, Allura. You have more to think of than just yourself now. The child you carry cannot be put into such a dangerous situation.” The advisor told her. “We’ll have to start training a permanent replacement for you, and fast.”

“Permanent?!”

“You’ll be a mother soon.” Hunk explained. “You’ll have your child waiting on you….depending on you. You can’t keep putting yourself in life or death situations…think of how you felt when you lost your parents. Do you really want your child to suffer that same kind of grief?”

“No.” admitted Allura with a sigh. But she was sad, thinking of the freedom she was losing due to her pregnant condition. Flying blue lion had meant everything to her. But now it was time to be responsible, and step down from adventuring with her team. Former team, she corrected, feeling herself grow teary eyed. But she didn’t break down, not wanting to concern the group with her tears.

“So it’s decided then.” Coran said. “The princess is officially stepping down from blue lion.” None of her team mates looked happy with that decision though. “In the mean time, I suggest we all take a moment to cool down. We can start making plans for the baby’s arrival soon enough.”

“We still have about six months right?” asked Hunk and Allura nodded. But before she could stay anything else, Nanny’s hands loosened. A thud followed their removal, the woman having collapses to the floor behind Allura’s chair.

“Nanny!” Everyone screamed, hurrying to their feet. Allura quickly kneeled down besides her, attempting to turn the woman on her back. Nanny’s face was pale, eyes closed. She began patting the woman’s cheek, trying to rouse her.

“Someone get me some water.” Allura cried out, and several people hurried out of the room. Including Keith, though Allura didn’t think anything suspicious of his exit. She’d continue to think that right up until the moment guard Jensen ran in. His eyes were excited, he didn’t know of the talk that had happened inside the conference room. “Coran…” His eyes looked at the group kneeling around Nanny, his curiosity roused. “Princess Allura….what…”

“What is it Jensen?” asked Allura.

He blinked, and seemed to remember himself. “It’s Captain Keith!”

“What about the captain?” demanded Coran sharply.

Jensen was still looking down at Nanny, Pidge running in with a pitcher of water. “He’s launched his lion….we’re scrambling to send ships to support him but…”

Alarmed, Allura looked at Coran. “He’s gone after Lotor, hasn’t he?!”

“Shit!” Lance exclaimed. “That hot headed fool….!”

“Quickly…”” Allura urged. “Go after him! Bring him back…”

“We will.” Lance and Hunk promised, then hurried out of the room. It was a struggle to watch them leave, Allura wanting to go with them. But she knew that she had to start accepting that her life with blue lion was over with. It wouldn’t be easy though, Allura feeling as though this was one more thing Lotor had taken from her.


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