Pause 24

A slow, shimmering joy had filled him. It had started in the recovery room of the hospital, the briefest glimpse of happiness sparking to life in his heart at the doctor’s words. The words that were the confirmation of everything he had hoped for, Allura pregnant with his child. The sparks of happiness would flame even brighter when the nurse let slip the baby was a boy, Lotor full of ridiculous pride to think Allura was giving him a son.

It was a happiness that could only be marred by worry. And even then, it wasn’t completely gone. Not even when Allura had been shaking, crying out in pain in response to the cramping her stomach was doing. Of course he did worry about her, and the baby she carried. Their baby, he thought smugly, feeling only the tiniest bit of remorse for forcing mother and child to go through with a procedure that wasn’t fail-safe. To Lotor it had been worth it, the results putting an end to the most major of Allura’s lies. She had been defeated, the test giving undeniable proof that her baby was Lotor’s as well.

He didn’t even try to think about the other things she had told him. Lotor was sure if Allura had lied about the baby’s paternity, then everything else was also a falsehood of hers. And that included any mystery lovers of hers. Not even a thought devoted to that lie was able to quench the river of happiness running through him. He wondered if his smile would become a permanent fixture on his face.

The fact that he couldn’t stop smiling, seemed to anger Allura. She kept glaring at him from across the room, the girl grumpy and bedridden for the time being. He still couldn’t manage a neutral expression, and if Lotor thought he had any control over his desire, he would kiss her until her sour mood evaporated. But he was well aware of the doctor’s orders, and the fact that his desires wouldn’t be stopped once started. Even kissing was dangerous, Lotor knowing how quick his body was to react to Allura.

And so he was keeping his distance. Or as much as he could maintain, Lotor finding he kept pacing closer to her bed in an attempt to study her. He looked for that special glow that pregnant women were supposed to have. But Allura didn’t seem any more radiant than she usually was. It was a radiance that couldn’t be dampened by her glares, and Lotor felt certain it would only increase as the months went by. He looked forward to seeing their child grow inside her, Allura nurturing the child inside her glorious body.

He couldn’t wait until she was recovered enough to celebrate the child they had made together. But he couldn’t let his mind wander on just what he wanted to do to celebrate. Otherwise he’d have to excuse himself, all to make another desperate attempt to quench his arousal. It wasn’t even a full day since they had left the hospital, and already Lotor was having difficulty with control.

By the time Allura was recovered, they’d already be on Doom. A different kind of celebration would take place then, his father throwing a wild party in their honor. Maybe even a parade, the people rejoicing to hear the royal family line was continuing. A wedding would inevitably happen, the marriage seeming to promise him paradise. All because he’d have the full approval of the kingdom, and their Gods, Allura legally in his bed. No one would be able to take her from him, they’d be united for the rest of their lives.

He might have smirked then, Allura’s glower darkening even further. With the legal tie to Allura, she’d never be able to sneak away again. His days would be full of her, looking at Allura, talking to Allura, even arguing with Allura. Sleeping, touching, sex. All of it. In this one euphoric instant he put aside the fact that no marriage was a complete paradise, Lotor thinking everything would be perfect between them.

Of course there was the small problem of getting Allura to accept the marriage. His original plans had been to sweetly torment her, to the point she could no longer resist him. In or out of bed. He had wanted her to beg. For his body, his heart, and his hand. The baby limited him in those designs, Lotor knowing he wanted his son to be born with his name attached to him. If he waited for Allura to come around, the child might be born long before they walked down the aisle, and that simply was unacceptable.

Looking at Allura, Lotor decided then and there, he would marry her as soon as it was feasible. Because, what really mattered was that he wanted her, and she carried his child. That was all he needed to make this marriage work.

It was with that thought in mind, that Lotor moved. His single minded determination showed in his eyes, Allura turning wary in response. She must think him a beast, to react so, but Lotor knew he hadn’t given her much proof of any other side to his personality.

“Allura…” He had reached the side of her bed, dropping down to one knee. His hand snatched at hers, lifting it up off the blanket. He didn’t hesitate, even as he wished he had a ring to present to her. “Marry me.”

It was an interesting mix of emotions on her face, her eyes going wide with them. Chief among them was this aghast look, her pupils dilating with the force of her emotions. There was none of that overwhelming joy he longed to see, no hint of anything positive present in her eyes. But he did not deflate, holding onto her hand as she tried to pull it back.

“Are you asking or telling me to marry you?” Allura finally demanded. She kept right on tugging on her hand, trying to get it away from him.

He decided to ignore her question, though they both knew it was more order than anything. “Marry me.” He repeated, then began speaking in a persuading tone. “I know you believe I won’t make a good father….”

“Or a good husband!” Her interjection wounded him, but he bravely shouldered on.

“But I can…will change. It probably sounds absurd to you, but you and this child, our son, will be the catalyst. I will become a better person, the kind of man you would want to marry. The kind of man you want to be the father of your child.”

“Can you suddenly do the impossible?” Allura asked, tone snide. He blinked slowly in response, and she sighed. “Lotor…we both know you won’t change. You’re lying to yourself if you believe otherwise.”

He refused to rise to the bait, keeping hold of that serene joy that filled him. “I didn’t realize you possessed the gift of foresight.” Her brow creased in response to that. “Allura, neither one of us can see the future. And frankly, life would be pretty damn boring if we could! You have to give me a chance….a chance to do right by you and this baby.”

“I can give you a million chances and it wouldn’t make up for what you’ve done.” She retorted, eyes flashing with anger.

“You know why I had to have that procedure performed on you…”

“It doesn’t excuse you!” Allura snapped. “You endangered my child…”

“Our child.” He corrected her but she ignored him.

“This is something I will never, ever forgive you for.” Allura continued, her gaze level with his. Her eyes gleamed with hostility, her voice holding anger in it’s grasp. “You’ve done many things, hurt so many people. That includes myself. But the one person you shouldn’t have messed with is this child….”

He almost flinched then, his smile faltering. “Your lies are at fault, as much as I am! You placed our baby in danger the instant you tried to deny it’s father!” Her expression hardened even further, but she seemed to have no retort prepared for him. “Allura, I can overlook that. I can overlook your lies, and the risk you caused yourself and our baby…”

Her jaw dropped, Allura making an astonished sound. He continued, voice almost pleading now. “We have to get over the past, forget our hurt and the lies. If not for each other, than for this baby.” He was still holding her hand, and now he raised it up so that he could brush a kiss over her knuckles. “We have to build a future for him, secure his happiness…” She was shaking her head no, her body trembling. “Together we can make sure our son wants for nothing….”

“Besides the fact that he would turn out spoiled, your way of thinking is flawed!” Allura retorted. “What kind of life would our son have when his parents hate each other?”

Now he really did flinch, dropping her hand. “I don’t hate you.”

“But I hate you!”

“No….you can’t…” He protested. “You’re too kind and caring to ever truly hate someone.”

“Is that what you think?” A humorless laugh erupted out of her. “Lotor, if anyone has given me a reason to hate them, it’s you…”

“Don’t say that!” He pleaded. “Don’t….”

“Don’t what?” Allura interrupted him. “Don’t dash your delusions about us? Because Lotor? Any happy future you think is possible for us, is just that.” His shoulders sagged, Lotor feeling dejected. Allura must have read defeat off of him, for she sighed, even as she pressed her advantage. “Don’t you see Lotor? You invite nothing but disaster for us….please… the right thing…”

“The right thing?” he echoed in a dull tone of voice.

She nodded. “Let me–us go. Please…”

“I can’t.”

She turned frustrated at that. “Why can’t you?!”

“You know why I can’t!”

“Why? Because you think you love me?” Allura demanded.

“I don’t think, I know! And just as I love you, I love the child you carry!” Lotor told her.

She scoffed at that. “Is it that simple for you? You find out he’s yours, and suddenly you love him? When before you said you didn’t even care about the child!? You love only when it’s convenient…!”

“I couldn’t give my love to a child I didn’t know was mine!” Lotor snapped. “I had to hold my heart back, to not let my feelings get involved with a child that might not be mine. But as soon as I got the proof he was mine, I was free to let my barriers down. And I will be damned before I let you tell me how I should or shouldn’t feel about my son!”

“You were damned long before you met me!” She shot back. Lotor lurched up off his knee, all his joy shattered from the argument he was having with Allura.

“I know you think of me as nothing more than some evil monster…but there’s so much more to me than that! If you weren’t so prejudiced against me, you would see that!” He shook his head. “I won’t let you or our son go. I keep what is mine…”

“We are not possessions for you to own!” Allura screamed.

“You belong to me all the same!” Lotor snapped. “I’ll prove it to you on Doom.”

“Nothing you can say or do will ever get me to change my beliefs about this!” Allura’s hands had curled into fists on her bed spread.

“That’s where you’re wrong.” A banging was sounding on the door to the cabin, Lotor stepping away from the bed. “I’d get ready if I was you.” Lotor continued as he walked towards the door. “We are going to be married, and we are going to be family. And there’s nothing you can do to prevent that from happening, Allura!” His words held a finality to them, Lotor jerking open the door. Doctor Shavat stood on the other side, his face lined with worry.

“What’s going on?!” The doctor demanded. “I could hear her shouting.”

“We were having a…disagreement.” Lotor admitted, not wanting the doctor to think Allura was cramping up again. The truth earned him a disapproving glare from Shavat, the man reprimanding Lotor.

“You must stop upsetting her! Arguing does neither her nor your son any good!”

“I…yes, of course you’re right.” Lotor stepped aside so the doctor could enter the room. “I will try my best to avoid upsetting her any further…” Allura made a rude noise in response to that. The doctor hurried over to her, and Lotor heard him tsk at Allura.

“You must try to keep your stress levels down. Too much and you could trigger a reaction…”

Lotor would cast one last look Allura’s way, before stepping out into the hall. The door would click shut behind him, Lotor letting out an exaggerated sigh. All his earlier joy was gone, his excited energy drained from him. Those happy feelings hadn’t been able to withstand the clear and precise loathing Allura held for him and the idea of tying herself to Lotor in marriage. Allura made it so difficult for him to remain optimistic, at least when she was speaking. And all because of her adamant insistence that they had no future together, and certainly not a happy one.

He didn’t completely understand where she got such ideas from. Lotor felt he treated her good, certainly better than he had ever treated any other woman in his life, save for his mother. He was as kind to Allura as he could manage, even when she disappointed and angered him. He loved her, and all he wanted in return was for Allura to feel the same depth of feeling. He wanted Allura to be as helpless to resist loving him, as Lotor was for her. He certainly didn’t see it as too much to ask of her.

Once again he found himself wondering just what it was she wanted. He felt it would make things so much easier if he could understand just what went through Allura’s mind. Lotor thought then he would have the key to obtaining her heart, in getting her to not only accept a future with him and their child, but to get her to love him in return.

As he walked through the ship’s corridors, Lotor tried to reassure himself. He told himself things would turn better once they were on Doom. Once the danger to her baby was over with. Once they were married. He felt certain a girl like Allura would honor her marriage vows, the princess being forced to love and respect the husband she was tied to. He refused to think this might be a disaster just waiting to befall them, a marriage that would be much like the marriage between Zarkon and Lotor’s mother. And all because Lotor was sure he was different from his father, the circumstances between him and Allura far more intense and loving than anything that had existed between Zarkon and Adaline.

But reassurance wasn’t coming as easily as he would have liked. And that left him dejected, which translated into his body language. His shoulders were stooped, a permanent frown on his face. Haggar would take one look at him, and actually smirk. “Things not going well between you and the princess?” That earned the witch a glare, but Haggar wasn’t frightened. “I take it she’s not as pleased as you are to have confirmation of just who the baby’s real father is?” Earlier, when Lotor had been unable to stop smiling, a look at his face had been all the witch had needed to guess at the results of the paternity test. Now he was just as readable, and Lotor hated that his face betrayed his inner turmoil.

“She doesn’t want to marry me.” Lotor grumbled to Haggar. “She hates the idea of tying herself to me in that way.”

“And this surprise you how?” asked Haggar. She actually dared to cackle softly in response to the look Lotor gave her. “Well, I suppose you could appeal to her sense of doing the right thing. Get her to realize this child deserves his father in his life as much as he deserves his mother.”

“That’s not how Allura sees it.” Lotor sighed. “She thinks the baby would be better off without any involvement of his father. It’s why she lied after all. She didn’t want me to place a claim on her or the baby…”

“A pity for her. Allura needs to understand just who she and that child belong to.” Hagger made a hmph of noise. “It won’t be a hardship, to be the wife of the future King of Doom. And you certainly treat her better than Zarkon ever did Adaline.”

“All Allura sees is the bad I and Doom have done.”

“Then perhaps you need to show her the good.” Suggested Haggar. “There are many worlds that benefit from Doom’s rule. Arus could be one of them, you could see that her home world thrives under Doom’s control.”

“I already tried that!” Lotor let some of his agitation slip into his voice. “That document I got her to sign….she saw the advantages I was giving Arus, and yet she still wasn’t happy!”

“Maybe not then…but in time she would have grown to appreciate what you’ve done for Arus.”

“Time? Why does it always come down to a waiting game?!” grumbled Lotor.

“You just have to learn some patience.” Haggar soothed. “Wait her out, and then reap the rewards that come with her appreciation.”

“Patience has never been a strong point of mine.” But Lotor had a feeling Haggar was right. Patience might be the key, and though he hadn’t been able to wait in some regards where Allura was concerned, he could at least try to exercise some restraint in other matters. It wouldn’t be easy, but it would prove worthwhile if he could win Allura over to returning his love.

A change must have come over his outward appearance, for Haggar was nodding in approval. “That’s the Prince Lotor I know. The one who doesn’t give up no matter who the adversary is.”

And Allura might prove to be his toughest opponent yet, the fight for her love the hardest, most difficult challenge of his life. But he felt renewed, ready to not fall defeated from Allura’s attitude and harsh words. “How close are we to Doom?” Lotor asked the witch.

“About a day’s journey provided we travel at our top most speed.”

“Push the engines as hard as you can.” Lotor ordered. “I want us on Doom as soon as possible.” She bowed her head in acknowledgment. “What word do we have from Arus?”

“The siege continues.” Haggar assured him. “Although there has been difficulty in maintaining communication with our ships. It appears Garrison is setting up a jamming frequency to block all communications to and from Arus.”

Lotor frowned at that. “That’s troubling. What was the status of the barricade when last you spoke with our commander on Arus?”

“Still holding strong.” Haggar told him. “Neither Garrison nor the lions have been able to break through.”

“Good.” But his agitation remained. He wouldn’t be able to feel totally at ease until his ship and it’s escorts landed safely on Doom’s surface.

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