The glass mugs rattled on the tray, Allura walking with exaggerated care so as not to spill even one drop of tea. Besides the two steaming mugs, and tea pot was a long length of gauze, an ice pack nestled on top of it. She stepped into the dimly lit living room, eyes seeking out her Nanny and sighed. The woman hadn’t taken her advice, choosing instead to stand rigid by a boarded up window as she peered out through the cracks.
“Nanny…I told you, you need to sit down.” Chided Allura, walking over to the table to set down the tray. “I know this isn’t the nicest of rooms, and the couch is falling apart, but it’s really quite comfortable looks aside.”
Nanny made a sound, but didn’t turn, the woman almost ignoring Allura. She forced herself to keep speaking, voice bright and cheery. “I’ve made us some tea. Please drink it before it has a chance to cool.”
“There’s no time for that.” Nanny muttered, hand touching one of the wooden boards. “We should be planning our escape, not wasting time on tea!”
“Nanny, I already told you…” Allura sighed out a reminder. “We’re not going anywhere. There’s no need to escape from Lotor and his friends.”
“No need?!” Now Nanny turned to her, eyes flashing with anger and disappointment. “Child, what have they done to you? What has that fiendish prince threatened you with to get you to stay with him?!”
“He didn’t have to threaten me.” Allura told her, but she hesitated, and Nanny picked up on it, narrowing her eyes.
“He did! He must have done something to get you to behave this way.”
“Behave in what way?” Allura asked confused. Nanny just made a scoffing sound, turning back to the window. “I know you don’t understand…there is a lot to explain…and I..I’ve been hesitant in telling you what you need to know.” She had held off breaking the news of her engagement to Lotor, hurrying out of the room with excuses and the desire to make tea. Allura also knew she couldn’t delay things for much longer, Nanny needed to know, one way or another.
It would be best if the woman heard it from Allura, the princess not wanting to think of the kind of outburst Nanny would have if Lotor was the one to break the news. “I know all I need to.” Nanny said, hands clutching close her bathrobe. She was surely cold, the bathrobe and nightgown beneath it not offering much in the way or warmth. Yet another reason why Allura wanted her to drink the tea.
“No, you do not.” Allura said, and walked over to Nanny. “Come…sit down with me…” Sitting or standing, Allura knew it would not make a difference in what she had to say. But she wanted her Nanny somewhat comfortable as they discussed unpleasant things.
Nanny grudgingly moved, allowing Allura to take hold of her arm, and lead her towards the couch. She helped Nanny lower herself down onto it’s thin cushions, the woman making a disgruntled face. “This place is no better than a dirty hovel.” She announced, the woman fastidious in her need for keeping things clean and pristine. “If he was going to kidnap you, couldn’t he have at least found better lodging to store you in? You’re a princess for goodness sake! Someone of your status and breeding should never set foot in such a dangerous and desolate part of town!”
“He didn’t kidnap me Nanny.” Allura reminded her, pushing a glass mug into Nanny’s hands. The woman closed her fingers around the mug, taking comfort in it’s warmth.
“Of course he did, princess! You wouldn’t have left the party with him otherwise.”
“There was many reasons I left the party with him, but I can assure you I walked out of my own accord.” Allura knelt down on the floor, reaching for Nanny’s foot. The woman gasped, and tried to move back, issuing out protests.
“Stop that! Get off that dirty floor this instant…”
“I need to check on your foot Nanny.” Allura explained patiently, pulling off the fuzzy slipper, and sock. She grimaced at the obvious swelling shown around the ankle area, also spying scratches running up Nanny’s legs, no doubt earned when she had landed in the bushes. “It can’t go unattended any longer.”
“I can do that myself!” Nanny was clearly uncomfortable with Allura fussing over her, the woman more used to being the one that did these sort of tasks.
“No need.” Allura assured her, finding she rather liked the role reversal. She wrapped the gauze bandage tight around Nanny’s ankle, hoping the pressure would help. She then had Nanny put her foot up on the couch, Allura balancing the ice pack against the side of Nanny’s ankle. “There now…all set…”
“I’m sorry to be so much trouble.” Nanny murmured, embarrassed. Allura just smiled, and fetched her mug of tea, moving to sit opposite Nanny. “I wish…I wish I hadn’t gotten injured. If my foot wasn’t hurting so bad, I’d take you right now and flee this place, Lotor be damned!”
“Nanny!” Allura admonished.
“There’s still a chance for you.” Added Nanny. “You could go now….leave this place and me behind.”
“You know I wouldn’t do that. Even if I had reason to go.”
Nanny frowned at that. “What do you mean? Surely you are not still going on about this promise you made him.” She looked frustrated at Allura’s nod, the woman frowning down at the mug in her hands. “Don’t you know Allura, that a promise made under duress, is a promise you needn’t keep?”
“I’m not about to go back on my word.” Allura told her, taking a sip of her tea. She was pleased her hands weren’t shaking with how nervous she was. “And Lotor? He has been very…generous to me…”
“Generous!?” sputtered Nanny, and Allura continued.
“To me and to you. He made me a promises. Ones he’s kept, even when they were more trouble than he would have liked.”
“Promises, what promises?!” Nanny demanded.
“To keep me safe…to protect me and my reputation from Tristan.” Nanny made a choking sound, Allura slow to realize she was holding in laugher. “Maybe even more important, he brought you to me. He got you away from that awful man.”
“Don’t tell me I was part of the deal to get you to behave!” Nanny looked aghast by the very thought.
“You make it sound worse than it is. Besides…” Allura added, taking another swallow of tea. “It wasn’t my good behavior he wanted.”
“Wh…what?!” Nanny sputtered and choked on a mouthful of tea, Allura standing up concerned. “Oh princess, don’t tell me you….you…NO! It’s too awful to contemplate.”
“I…I agreed to marry him.” Allura said quietly, but Nanny didn’t seem to hear.
“You couldn’t have slept with him! You just couldn’t have…not willingly…”
“No! Nanny! We haven’t slept together…not yet at least….but…that is part of a marriage…” A glance at Nanny showed her jaw had dropped, the woman staring in horror at Allura. “He’s really been quite honorable…” Allura continued, trying not to grow even more flustered under Nanny’s stare. “He hasn’t touched me inappropriately, and except for one kiss, he’s conducted himself in a manner even you could not find fault with.”
“Br….brainwashed!” Nanny gasped out, almost dropping her mug onto her lap. Allura hurried to take the tea away from her, not wanting her Nanny to be burnt. “He’s brainwashed you! That witch of his must have cast a spell on you.”
“Haggar’s not here Nanny. And I haven’t been brainwashed.”
“Then you’ve come to sympathize with him!” exclaimed Nanny. “I know what this is called. It’s that…that Stockholm Syndrome! It is!” She insisted when Allura shook her head no. “What else could it be?” To that she had no answer, Allura shrugging her shoulders. “He’s got you right where he wants you! And he used me to get it!”
“No..no…He could have just taken me to Doom. He could have left you behind, but he agreed to help me.” Allura was still standing, both mugs of tea in her hands. “Nanny…” Her eyes were troubled, Allura preparing to break even worse news to the woman. “Tristan is not who you think he is..” Nanny suddenly gasped, voice taking on an urgent tone.
“Prince Tristan! He’s been beside himself with worry over you, and rightfully so. Make no doubt about it, Lotor’s criminal acts mean there will be war declared between Alazne and Doom!”
“How horrible…” Allura murmured, thinking of the innocent people of Alazne.
“But I have faith in him!” Nanny continued. “He’ll save you from Lotor….he’ll save us both, and then you two can be married, and live happily and start on a family.”
“No Nanny, no!”
“Allura, it’s important to make heirs…” Nanny began, but Allura cut her off.
“It’s not that. It’s not that at all!” A shake of her head, her hair bouncing around her face. “I don’t want—need saving. Especially by the likes of Tristan.” Nanny turned startled at the growl Allura emitted, her eyes growing huge. “Do you want to know what really happened the night I left the party with Lotor?” A rapid nod from Nanny, Allura turning grim. “Tristan tried to RAPE me!”
Nanny’s jaw dropped, the woman gasping out a no. “It’s true!” Allura insisted. “He lured me to the planet under false pretenses. He had it all planned out. He wanted to hurt me, to black mail me into marriage with him. He counted on the shame and humiliation I would feel if the rape was revealed.”
“No…no I don’t believe it.” Nanny said, voice faint. “Tristan isn’t capable of something so dastardly.”
“He probably counted on his reputation to protect him should I speak up about his rape attempt.” Allura said bitterly. Nanny flinched when she said the word rape, her face pale with fright. “Nanny, I wouldn’t lie to you about this…”
“Why would he do this?” Nanny wondered out loud. “If he wanted you, why wouldn’t he approach you through the normal channels.”
“He doesn’t want me…the rape was never about any desire for who I am as a person, a woman. He only sees me as a means to an end.”
“What end?!” Nanny demanded.
“Voltron.” Allura said softly. “He wants to use Voltron to start his plans of conquest. I can’t even begin to imagine the devastation he would cause to the galaxy with Voltron in his hands…”
“You’re….you’re confusing the prince for that Drule!” Nanny protested. “That fiendish Lotor has you all twisted and confused inside so that you cannot tell up from down! But don’t worry Allura, I am here now, and I will help you.”
“You don’t understand…” Allura began, but Nanny continued to babble, digging a hand into her bathrobe’s pocket.
“You just need to be in your fiancee’s loving arms…and he’ll be here soon…I’ve seen to that.” The smashing of the glass mugs followed Nanny’s announcement, Allura barely feeling as the tea remains splattered on her stockings and shoes.
“What have you done?” Allura whispered out her question, staring horrified at Nanny.
“Prince Tristan had a feeling Lotor would come for me.” Nanny had a grim expression on her face, pulling out a tiny device out of her pocket. “He gave me this to keep on me at all times…”
“No!” Allura screamed, realizing it was some kind of tracking device. She slapped the electronic out of the woman’s hand, the device flashing a red blinking light that died down when Allura began stamping her foot to crush the device into pieces.
“What are you doing princess?!” Nanny demanded, horrified anew. “The prince needs that locator to find us!”
“I don’t want him to find us!”
“You’re hysterical.” Nanny said, and Allura fought not to slap her across the face. “Prince Tristan will see to you. He’ll take you in his arms and make everything right.” This time she gave in to the impulse, her hand striking Nanny hard. The woman gave her a wounded look, holding a hand to her face. Allura stared at her, hand trembling and smarting from the force she had used.
“LOTOR!” She screamed at the top of her lungs, and before he could arrive, the Baron and Duke burst into the room.
“What’s happening princess?!” asked Krieg, looking at her standing in the puddle of broken glass and tea. She heard footsteps running down the shoddy wood staircase, Lotor hurrying towards the living room.
“Our location’s been compromised.” Allura announced the instant Lotor burst into the room. She cradled her throbbing hand to her chest, and kicked at the broken pieces of the locator device.
“Is that…” began Alistair, and Lotor growled.
“We’ve got to get moving.”
“It’s too late…” A tearful Nanny moaned, still touching her cheek. The imprint of Allura’s hand was a bright red mark on her skin, Nanny having paled from the shock of it. “I activated it just after we arrived, when I was in the bathroom.”
“You fool!” Krieg hissed, taking a step towards Nanny.
“We’ve no time to sit around and berate her!” Lotor snapped. “We’ve got to leave, now!”
“Princess?” Nanny sounded so forlorn, so lost when she saw Allura nodding in agreement to what Lotor said. “No…we can’t go…”
“You’ve no idea what you’ve done!” Allura hissed, voice cold. It was the only way for her to keep from crying, Allura trying to numb herself to the pain of Nanny’s unknowing betrayal.
“I’ve saved you..” Nanny whispered.
“No, you may have condemned me to the unthinkable.”
“But…” Lotor grabbed Nanny by the arm, jerking her to her feet.
“But nothing! Don’t you realize by now, Tristan is the bad guy?!” Allura followed Lotor and Nanny to the door, the princess berating the woman all the while. Alistair and Krieg brought up their rear, Lotor reaching out to jerk open their exit. They stepped out of the building, just in time for a large spot light to land on them, Allura glancing up to spy hovering ships in the sky above them.
“Damn it!” Lotor shouted, and tried to jerk Nanny back towards the door. The woman fought him, lunging forward with an excited scream.
“Over here!” Nanny cried, waving her free hand wildly. “We’re over here! Save us, save us!”
“Stop it you damn fool!” Krieg hissed.
“Surrender Lotor!” A voice boomed from up above. “You’ve no chance to escape. Surrender peacefully and you will not be harmed!”
“Like I believe that.” Lotor muttered. Allura was studying the sky, noting there was at least half a dozen ships in the air, weapons primed and ready to attack. Worrisome of all, was the sub automatic laser gun mounted on the side of one such ship, Allura knowing that weapon was capable of firing a torrent of lasers within seconds. They’d probably not make it inside the building before the lasers struck them, leaving Allura to want to cry at the hopeless feeling that settled within her.
Nanny was still fighting Lotor’s hold, screaming and shouting for help, making enough ruckus to rouse the whole neighborhood. But the streets remained empty, the citizens who made the slums their home wisely staying out of this confrontation.
“What do we do?” Alistair asked, nervously wringing his hands together.
“What can we do?!” Krieg demanded.
“Is this really over with?” Allura wondered out loud, glancing at Lotor. He wore a grim faced expression, his free hand clenching into a fist over his sword. “You can’t block all those lasers….” Allura began, thinking she knew what he was thinking.
“But I can buy you enough time to get inside.” Lotor said, and she let out a no.
“No! What good will that do?! They’ve got the building surrounded, there’s no way to escape!”
“It’s not a good hideout if it doesn’t have more than one exit. Right Krieg?” Lotor asked, and the Baron nodded.
“There’s a passage under the building. We can use that to travel under the city…”
“Good. Go now.” Lotor ordered, and Allura cried out.
“No! Not without you!”
“I promised to protect you from Tristan. I meant it.” Lotor retorted, not looking at her.
“No…you needn’t go this far…” Allura shook her head in protest, even as the Baron and Duke took hold of her arms. She screamed and fought them, being dragged towards the building’s doorway. The sub automatic laser gun opened fire, Lotor letting go of Nanny to draw his sword. The hiss of laser meeting lazon was heard, repeated numerous times as Lotor began deflecting the laser blasts, Allura tearing up as she was dragged into the building.