The castle command center was as lively as it had ever been, loud cheers being issued as palace personal celebrated the successful return of their princess. Guards turned towards each other, grins on their faces, shaking hands and exchanging hugs, while the maids smiled and dabbed at teary eyes. Someone actually popped open a bottle of champagne, pouring generous amounts into any and all goblets offered it’s way.
Even the mice came out to see what was going on, dancing about at the feet of the Voltron force. Allura smiled to see them, Pidge bending down to hold out a hand to the furry little creatures. The rodents climbed aboard his palm, quickly scuttling up his arm to take up position on his shoulders, the largest of the mice sitting atop his head.
Allura looked away from the mice, to see Jensen entering the room with Father Deacon, the priest looking pale but otherwise unharmed. He smiled and nodded at princess Allura, the girl returning his gesture with a bow of her head. Also present was palace guard Aidan, the man with his dark black curls dressed in Keith’s spare pilot uniform. It had been Aidan, wearing the helmet to obscure his facial features that had stood in for the transmission to Lotor’s flag ship. With his height and build, he could easily pass for Keith, fooling the Doomians into buying the ruse.
Allura had to stifle giggles as she recalled how Keith had looked dressed in a nun’s robes, sure the image would stick with her forever. She was eager to learn of how they had pulled off such a ruse, Allura opening her mouth to speak.
“Thank you everyone….” She began, finding she felt nervous before her friends and people. “But I’m afraid I don’t deserve your applause….”
“Princess no!” exclaimed Nanny, shaking her head so her brown curls bounced, escaping her cap. “You were so brave today….”
“Nanny’s right!” Hunk said, offering her a kind smile. “Without your assistance, we never would have pulled off a last minute win against Lotor!”
“But…it’s because of me that Lotor….nearly…..no…” She closed her eyes, shaking her head no. “Lotor has won….I…I signed over Arus to his control.”
“We’ll fight this.” Keith spoke up, placing a hand on her shoulder. Nanny evil eyeballed the friendly gesture, her look enough to cause the raven haired youth to pull back his hand. “Count on it princess.”
“Keith is right.” Coran said, expression solemn and grave. “We won’t allow Doom to take control of Arus. We will take those documents to the courts. Surely a judge can be made to see you signed those under duress.”
“But will it be enough?” Allura wondered. “Doom will be back…”
“And we’ll chase them off each and every time!” Lance exclaimed, the other boys nodding their heads in agreement. “Document or no, you’re the only ruler this planet has. Not Lotor, not Zarkon, not even Haggar! The people won’t accept anyone else…Am I right?” He turned to glance at the guards and maids in the room, the men and women erupting into cheers as they nodded their heads yes.
“Thank you Lance….everyone….” Allura said, feeling the first hint of tears in her eyes. “Your support means a lot to me. I just hope the rest of my people can be as forgiving as you.”
“There there…..don’t cry princess.” Nanny said, approaching Allura. She patted the girl’s back, offering her a handkerchief with her right hand. Allura took it, and began dabbing at her eyes. “Ack….she’s been through so much….she needs a good rest now…”
“I’m fine.” Allura insisted, sniffling. “I’m just a little emotional.”
“Who can blame you after what you been through!” Hunk said sympathetically.
“Gee princess…..what made you want to be alone with Lotor in the first place?” Lance suddenly asked, and for a second everyone looked at him. He shrugged, a sheepish look in his eyes. “I mean when we first caught him….you went to interrogate him alone in his jail cell….”
“You’re not saying all this is Allura’s fault, are you?!” snapped Nanny angrily.
“Oh no!” Lance protested, hands held up as though to ward off the chubby woman. “I’m just trying to understand Allura’s earlier actions…” Now everyone glanced at Allura, the princess fighting not to blush under the scrutiny of their stare.
“I’m sorry…I wasn’t thinking straight…” She said, eyes turning downcast. “Remember the first time Lotor captured me?”
“Ah…..when he forced you to drink Haggar’s potion?” asked Hunk, Allura nodding her head yes.
“Yes….well…it had an unexpected side effect….it…it made me reckless….made me act in ways I never would have done under normal circumstances.” Allura glanced at Nanny, and she reached for the woman’s hand. “I was so terrible to you. Please forgive me.”
“There’s nothing to forgive child.” Nanny said, giving a gentle squeeze of Allura’s hand. “You weren’t yourself.”
“Yeah…” Allura said, not failing to notice the way Pidge was watching her.
“At least that potion wore off before you did anything you’d really regret.” Keith said, his words making Allura fight not to frown.
“Keith? I was wondering…” Allura began, eager to change the subject. “Just how did you and Jensen get aboard Lotor’s ship?”
“Ah…that.” Keith grinned. “When the word came out that Lotor wanted a priest well….we saw our chance to act.”
“We went out through green lion’s lair. We then hiked through the woods to the nearest town, and laid in wait.” Jensen added. “It was quite an experience, seeing a lion’s lair up close and personal!”
“I’m just amazed you found a nun’s robe in your size, you guys.” Grinned Hunk.
“You’re one to talk!” Lance said, jabbing his elbow into Hunk’s gut.
“Yeah, they’d need at least three outfit’s worth of material to fit you!” Pidge exclaimed, and everyone burst into laughter at the pilot’s exaggeration of Hunk’s size. Hunk pouted, but took in the ribbing with his usual good-natured manner.
“I suppose we’ve wasted enough time reminiscing.” Coran spoke up, clapping his hands together. “We have things to do, repairs to see. The damaged tower needs to be fixed, and the lions need maintenance checks run.” The Voltron Force grumbled, but nodded their heads. “Everyone, back to work.” The palace guards sighed, putting down their champagne glasses as they headed back towards their posts. Technicians returned to their stations, and Nanny began admonishing the maids for lazing about.
“What will you do Coran?” Allura asked, anxious for something to do.
“I will put in a call to Garrison.” Coran answered. “We must set in motion the court hearings needed to stop Doom from claiming Arus as part of it’s empire.”
“Can I help?” She asked, but Coran shook his head no.
“No…Nanny is right. You need your rest.” She started to protest, but Coran held up a hand for her silence. “Please princess, allow me to do this small thing. I…I was helpless to do anything while Lotor held you aboard his ship. The least I can do is be active now in defending Arus from this new threat.”
“All right Coran.” agreed Allura, and she lightly touched his arm, offering him a smile before turning away. Most of the Voltron Force was already gone, off on their separate tasks, but Pidge remained in the room. He was currently conversing with two technicians, a brown skinned man, and a red haired woman. He turned as Allura went to walk past, calling out to get her attention.
“Princess Allura….if I could have a moment of your time?”
“Sure Pidge.” Allura said, smiling warmly at him. “What can I do for you?”
“Can we talk in private?” Pidge asked, looking uncomfortable. Allura nodded, and the boy sighed in relief. He nodded his good-byes to the two technicians, and fell into place besides Allura. They moved through the archway of the command center, stepping out into the castle’s hall. It was empty except for two guards, who smiled at the two pilots.
Allura led Pidge through the castle, heading for one of the empty conference rooms. The boy was silent as he walked side by side with her, his expression serious. It made Allura nervous, having never witnessed Pidge in so quiet a frame of mind.
“Is here good enough?” She asked, opening the door. Pidge nodded, and stepped in ahead of her, Allura closing the door behind them.
“Princess….” Pidge kept his back to her, his hands before his front, fingertips fidgeting together. “I…I’m not sure this is my place to bring this up….but…”
“But what?” She asked, concerned.
“I can’t keep this secret to myself.” Pidge sighed. “Allura….I know…”
“Know what?” Allura asked, feeling confused. But more than that, she felt the first flickers of worry in her stomach, staring as the pilot of green lion turned around to look her in the eye.
“I know about you and Lotor. About what the potion really made you do.” He was blushing, but his gaze was level and unflinching as he spoke. Allura felt the fever of a blush on her own cheeks, her eyes going wide, the impulse to deny it heavy within her.
“I overheard Haggar and Lotor talking.” Pidge continued, looking embarrassed. “They said the potion would make you…make you have sex with Lotor…”
“Oh.” Allura said faintly, and somehow she found herself sitting down at the table.
“I don’t want to believe such an awful thing is true but…” Pidge shrugged his shoulders. “You were alone with the prince for an awfully long time…and he came back half dressed. He didn’t deny the sex to Haggar either…”
Allura buried her face in her hands, hiding from Pidge. “It’s true, isn’t it?” Pidge asked, relentless. “I can tell by your reaction. But don’t feel ashamed Allura….that wasn’t you.”
“I know that…” Allura said sadly, cautiously raising her head to look up at Pidge with tear stained eyes. “But it doesn’t change the fact that I slept with him!”
“If Keith knew….Keith would kill Lotor.” Pidge said. “Hell, I wanted to kill him too!” A humorless laugh escaped him, Allura remembering how Pidge had taken aim at Lotor’s back.
“Please don’t tell anyone!” Allura said alarmed, and Pidge frowned.
“But Allura….what if you’re pregnant?” Pidge wanted to know. “How will you explain that?”
“I don’t know.” Admitted Allura. “I’ll…I’ll worry about it when and if the time comes. But until then, promise Pidge. Promise me you won’t tell the others!” She stared urgently at his face, the pilot looking uncomfortable.
“All right Allura. I won’t. But…” He shook his head. “I think you’re making a mistake.”
“I’ve made a lot of mistakes this day…” Allura sighed. “What’s one more?”
“What will you do if you are pregnant?” She was silent in response to his question, just staring at her hands. Pidge sighed, offering up a suggestion. “You…you could always abort the baby.”
“Pidge no!” Allura protested, the young man continuing as though she hadn’t spoken.
“I’d go with you to the clinic. No one need know about this.”
“I couldn’t do this to an innocent child. No matter who it’s father is!” Allura exclaimed.
“I didn’t think you would.” Pidge sighed. “All right Allura….I’ll pray for you. Pray that you’re not pregnant by Lotor. But if there’s some chance that you are, I’ll pray you find the strength to tell the others before it’s too late.”
“…..thank you Pidge.” Allura said, but was unable to muster even a hint of a smile for her friend.
“No problem princess.” He said, and then surprised her by bowing. “I’ll see you later, okay?”
“Okay.” She nodded, but did not turn to watch him leave the conference room. The door clicked closed behind Pidge, leaving Allura alone with nothing but her thoughts. She sat staring at the far wall, seeing a tapestry of ancient Arus with faded colors of blue and gold, depicting a great battle. She knew that new tapestries would be made to tell of today’s battle against Doom, a process that would take several months to complete. She wondered if she’d know whether she was pregnant with child by the time the first tapestries were sent to the castle for her approval.
“Pregnant…” Allura whispered to herself, pulling at the snug fitting waist of her pilot’s uniform. She tried pulling it outwards to see how she would look with a round belly but there was little leeway in the waist of her uniform. She knew she had a fifty-fifty chance of being pregnant, neither she nor Lotor had used any form of protection. “Oh father…” Allura whispered, praying to the ghost of King Alfor. “What will I do if I really am pregnant? How will I face the others, knowing I carry Lotor’s child?”
No answer was forthcoming, but deep down Allura knew that she would have to find the strength to do that and more. Arus…and her potential child would need her more than ever in the coming months.
But don’t worry…..there’s always the sequel to get those crazy kids together! 😀