Pause 20

The bridge of his ship was bustling with activity. Drules were seated before the many computers present, seeing to the various functions of the ship. There was constant noise, the tapping of keyboards, the answering beeps of the machines. Voices called out to each other, giving readouts and status updates about everything down to the most minor of tasks. It wasn’t just the technicians that were busy. Soldiers moved about the floor, though there wasn’t nearly as many present as there would have been should the ship engage in a battle.

The front wall of the bridge was actually a floor to ceiling length view screen. Currently it was split into several views, each one showing a different vantage point out on the ship. Other vessels flew in tight formation besides the command ship, on guard and ready to attack at the slightest hint of threat. To the very front of the ships, there was a planet in the distance. It was large, and would loom even bigger the closer they got to it.

Lotor estimated that by the time evening fell on the planet’s surface, they would well be in it’s orbit. Their arrival on planet Sarook couldn’t come fast enough for him, Lotor impatient to get things over with. It was there on Sarook that he would get the answers he needed, get confirmation of what he already suspected. Allura would no longer be able to lie to him, the baby’s paternity no longer in doubt.

He was almost confidant he already knew what the results of the test would reveal. But that didn’t mean he didn’t have a small, niggling doubt that plagued him. Lotor just kept on reassuring himself that Allura’s baby HAD to be his as well. And not just because it would complicate everything if it proved otherwise. He wanted her baby to be his, he needed it. There was a part of Lotor that felt everything would fall into place, Allura would come to accept a life with him if only for the sake of their baby.

Not that Lotor wanted her to just give up. He wanted so much more than her surrender, he wanted her to love him. To be that partner he wanted to rule the Doom Empire with. To be the woman he would be honored to raise a family with. Lotor didn’t want her so thoroughly defeated she lost her spirit, though he did want her compliant.

So far she was anything but! Lotor sighed, remembering how she had locked herself in the bathroom. She hadn’t come out by the time he had finished dressing. Lotor had tried again to coax her out, but as far as Allura was concerned, he could talk himself hoarse and she would not respond. It frustrated him, and in the end he had been defeated. Enough that he left her alone, Lotor choosing not to break down the bathroom door, but instead give them both space.

It was a space Allura desperately needed. He acknowledged that. He had upset her. Allura didn’t like having her lies examined so closely. She didn’t like having the holes in her story pointed out. But she needed to know, her lies weren’t solid, Lotor was begginning to see through many of them. And with it, he was growing calmer than he had been when first hearing her revelations. Oh, he still worried and saw red when he thought of the potential mystery lover of Allura’s, but he wasn’t as quick to anger now. Not when he was pretty sure no such lover existed.

Ideally, Lotor would like to know for sure that she had remained untouched by another. Jealousy and insecurity would eat at him otherwise. As calm as he was growing over this aspect of Allura’s claims, Lotor didn’t know what would happen if by some chance the baby really did turn out to belong to another man. He feared his reaction, that his temper would explode. Heaven help those near to him if that happened!

He was actually nervous about what would happen once on Sarook. And his usual methods of calming down weren’t ideal in this situation. He couldn’t resort to drinking, Lotor needed his mind clear. Sex always had a way or working a relaxing magic on him. But Lotor didn’t entirely trust himself around Allura, not with the violent intensity of his need for her.

The release he had enjoyed that morning paled in comparison to the climax Lotor would get if he had been inside of Allura’s body. It had barely taken the edge off his hunger, though his pent up frustrations had been glad for the chance to spill free of his body. He remembered Allura’s response to his coming on her. Lotor felt she had overreacted, just as she overreacted to much when it came to their sexual escapades.

He still remembered Haggar’s words of three months ago. How the witch had said Allura’s prudish nature had been a boon when it came to the potion Haggar had created. The potion made a person act in an opposite way, Allura going from one extreme to another. Once again Lotor found himself wishing for a happy middle ground. He wondered if that was possible to achieve, especially with Allura being so determined not to compromise when it came to the bedroom.

It was one of the reasons he pushed her so continuously. If Lotor had been content to wait for Allura to come around, he’d be old and wrinkled! She needed to be pushed, needing to be tempted. And Lotor was sure he was a temptation for Allura, if only for the pleasure he could offer her. He wondered if he could tempt her a different way, if he could make her see the benefits a union between them could bring?

He just as quickly dismissed that thought. Lotor had offered her a union once before, giving her a treaty that saw to the fair and honest treatment of her planet and people. He had even made sure to include a provision to spare the lives of the Voltron Force. And Allura still hadn’t been satisfied. Just what did she want exactly? Why couldn’t she be happy at the idea of a man who loved her and wanted to lay the galaxy at her feet?

He must have made a sound under his breath. Several people turned to look at him, expressions nervous. He didn’t try to reassure then, Lotor actually resting his hand on the hilt of his sword. With wide eyed looks, the Drules turned back to their assigned tasks. Lotor did not sigh, staring moodily at the planet Sarook. They were scheduled to visit a hospital in the capital early the next day. Cossack had radioed ahead, informing them that the prince would make use of the facilities. They hadn’t told them what his reasons for the visit was, just to clear it of all non essential personnel.

They couldn’t relocate the seriously ill patients. But they could bar any new patients and visitors from arriving. The doctors there didn’t even know who their patient actually would be, Lotor intending to sneak Allura into the hospital. It would be a covert operation, they would go in, do the tests, then quickly leave. The reason for all this subterfuge was simple. Lotor didn’t want the paparazzi to get wind of his whereabouts. Nor did he want them snooping about, trying to dig up dirt on Allura.

Ideally, they would get this all over and done with, and that included getting the results. And then they would be on their way to Doom. With Garrison and the Drule fleet still battling out on Arus, there should be little chance of anyone coming to Allura’s rescue. The lions were stuck on Arus, the Drule ships offering heavy fire to prevent them from breaking past the barricade and traveling into space.

Of course reports were flooding them via the airwaves. The Voltron Force was desperate to get past the fleet. Trying again and again to fight their way free of the barricade so they could go to Doom. Not that the Voltron Force would be able to do much once Lotor brought Allura to land on planet Doom. With the shielding that protected the planet, not even Voltron would be able to get past that barrier. They’d have no real way of rescuing Allura. They’d have to concede defeat.

If they had any sense, they would have already given up. But the Voltron Force continued to fight with the aid of Garrison’s ships. The skies of Arus was cluttered with the ships, the battles ranging non stop. Lotor was doubly glad to get Allura out of that war zone, the prince trying not to shudder as he thought of how in danger she and the baby would have been in.

It still upset him when he thought about the months of danger she had willfully exposed herself to. Lotor actually cringed, thinking of the times blue lion had join in on the battle, usually to fight against some robeast of Haggars’. Allura had taken too many risks, jeopardizing herself and the baby she carried. It made Lotor determined to protect her. In the only way he knew how. That involved putting her somewhere safe, out of the way of the constant fighting. Doom was not ideal for many reasons, but one thing the planet could boast about was the fact it was shielded from enemy invasions.

He’d feel a lot better once he had her settled in his private rooms at the castle. He could control the situation then, keep all the dangerous elements away from Allura. She didn’t need the added burden of war. Her pregnancy would be rough on her the further along she got. For once Lotor did not mind his human blood, thinking it might help shield Allura from the worse of a Drule pregnancy.

Lotor was just begginning to brood on the rigors of carrying a Drule child to term, when one of the ship’s stewards approached him. Lotor raised an eyebrow, not quite growling as he watched the man do a hasty bow to him. “What?!”

“Witch Haggar requests an audience.”

“Haggar?” A nod. “What does she want?!”

“She did not say, sire.” A hesitation. “But she is insisting on a private meeting.”

“Oh she is, is she?” Lotor snorted. He was set on demanding she come to him, but then thought better of it. If Haggar wanted a private meeting, it was surely something that he wouldn’t want to share with the rest of the crew. There was several things he could think of, off the top of his head, Allura’s condition chief among them.

“She is waiting in her chambers.” The steward added helpfully, watching as Lotor drew himself out of his seat. Lotor gave an absentminded nod, already dismissing the steward from any further involvement. It didn’t mean Lotor wasn’t aware of him, the prince keeping tabs of everyone present onboard the bridge. If an attack were to come, he’d be more than prepared though his outward appearance was one of annoyance.

But his hand was resting just besides his sword’s sheathe, Lotor ready to draw it at a minute’s notice. He passed by Cossack as he headed for the bridge’s elevator. The two Drules exchanged nods, Cossack assuring Lotor he would stay on top of all activities here on the bridge. Lotor knew he wouldn’t have to worry, Cossack was more than capable of handling things.

As he rode the elevator down to the bottom level, he pondered just what the witch could want to talk about. There were several things that sprang to mind, Lotor having not talked to Haggar since that moment he had physically threatened her in the gym’s shower. He must have succeeded in terrifying her, the witch avoiding him for hours. That was practically a new record, Haggar usually breathing down his neck whenever they were on a mission.

He appreciated the time he had had, free of the witch’s harassment. It had left him free to spend a great deal of uninterrupted time with Allura, even if that time didn’t always result in an ideal situation. He was doubly glad for Haggar’s uninvolvement, Lotor knowing she would have had suggestions on how to force the truth out of Allura. Suggestions and potions, the witch working dangerous magic that held the potential to backfire.

He would knock on Haggar’s door, Lotor not waiting for her permission to enter. A musty smell immediately assaulted him when he opened the door, letting him know Haggar had been working some kind of spell all too recently. Not even the multitude of scented candles she had lit could rid the cabin of that musk. If anything, the multitude of different scents only compounded the problem.

Trying not to cough in response, he stalked into the room. The overhead lights were on, casting a spotlight on the various things that lay spread out on work tables. Lotor couldn’t tell what had been the most recent project of Haggar’s, everything was simply that in disrepair. Haggar was standing calmly by a book case, a bloody knife in her hand that she was wiping clean with a cloth. She looked annoyed at his sudden entrance, but Haggar didn’t admonish him. She had after all, grown accustomed to Lotor barging in unannounced.

“Well, witch?” Lotor demanded, once the door had slid shut behind him. “What was so important that you insisted on seeing me?”

“Your father is demanding answers.” She said without preamble. “He wants to know why we have not yet returned to Doom.”

“Let him wonder.” Lotor was unconcerned. “What does it matter if we delay, so long as I have Princess Allura in my possession?”

“That’s not good enough for Zarkon.” Haggar told him. “It’s all I can do to keep his anger in check. And frankly, I am getting tired of making excuses!”

“I don’t care if you’re tired, you’ll continue to keep him in the dark about this side trip we’re taking!” Lotor said in a commanding tone. “The last thing I need is my father gaining knowledge that Allura may not be carrying my child.” He growled then. “There’s no telling what he would do, what measures he would take to remove the threat some other man’s bastard poses.”

“He’d be right to do it too.” Haggar’s eyes flashed at Lotor’s warning growl. “What ruler in their right mind would tolerate a wife pregnant by another man?”

“We don’t know for sure if she was even with another man.”

Haggar looked surprised. “Has she told you otherwise?”

“No, she is determinedly sticking to her claims of having taken another lover.” Lotor snorted then. “But there are holes in her story. Too much doesn’t add up. And she’s nervous, frantic to keep her story together…she doesn’t want me to think there’s any chance I could be the father. But the chance exists, and the more I speak with her, the more I believe there is no other man.”

“Are you sure it’s not just a deluded hope you hold towards her?” Haggar was snide as she spoke. “I know how…possessive you are where that princess is concerned. Just as I know it would drive you insane to think some other man got to fuck her.”

Lotor let out an annoyed growl. “It’s not delusion.”

Haggar looked unconvinced. “I suppose we’ll find out soon enough about the baby’s parentage. I don’t envy you what will happen if the baby proves to be some other man’s child.”

“I will protect Allura and the baby, regardless.” He said determinedly.

“Even you can’t be with her every hour of the day. You’ll be inviting disaster if you bring them to Doom…”

“My father’s agents can get to Allura even if she’s not on Doom.” Lotor pointed out. “If she’s not carrying my child, nowhere will be safe enough for them.”

“I think you’re being a damn fool.” Grumbled Haggar. “Why would you go to such lengths for the woman that spurns you?”

“And I suppose your way is better?” He scoffed. Haggar nodded, though her expression was guarded. She still remembered the rage he had flown into at the mere suggestion that he abort the baby Allura carried. “It’s not. You think I would ever have Allura’s love if I did the things you suggested?”

“I think you won’t have Allura’s love regardless of what you do.” Retorted Haggar. “At least this way you could save yourself a lot of grief and humiliation, and try again at making a baby with her.”

“That’s not going to happen.”

“Oh?” Haggar arched a brow. “And what will happen then?” Her voice turned mocking. “Can you honestly see yourself raising some other man’s bastard? Can you see yourself restraining yourself, to not hate the child and treat it with malicious intent. You know if you ever do anything untoward to the brat, Allura will despise you even further. And you’re lying to yourself if you think you can stomach the idea of having a family that involves another man’s spawn!”

“I’ll manage.” Lotor insisted through clenched teeth.

“Fool!” Haggar shouted. “You won’t succeed. If anything you’ll be a worse father to Allura’s child than Zarkon was to you!”

“Shut up!” Lotor snarled, lunging towards Haggar. She immediately scrambled out of reach, gripping the knife in her hand though she wasn’t so scared as to turn the blade against him. “I am a better man than my father could ever hope to be! The past won’t repeat itself…I am not Zarkon…”

“That much is obvious.” Haggar sounded bitter then. “Zarkon would do what had to be done. He wouldn’t let misguided delusions of love stay his hand.”

“My love is real.” Lotor snapped, glaring at her. “You would know that if you had room in your heart for the kinder feelings!” With that he turned, Haggar sputtering out an angry comment. But he didn’t linger to spar with her any longer, Lotor stalking out of the room. It wasn’t until he was out of the witch’s sight, that Lotor realized he was shaking. And all because Haggar had hit on a nerve. Could he really tolerate a child that was not his by blood? He didn’t know, and that uncertainty made him all the more troubled.

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