Blue eyes greet me, glittering with a look I’ve not often had the privilege of seeing before. Desperation suits you well Allura, that gleam of just barely held back panic. I haven’t said a word to you, I’ve just only entered the room, but already you fear me. It is the fear that I will send you away before you get what you so desperately need. It’s all I can do to hold back my smirk, keep my own eyes from showing the perverse satisfaction this situation gives me.
“It’s been a while.” I say out loud, my voice cool, distant. Too distant for your liking, but then you had to know this wouldn’t be easy. I’m no longer in thrall to you, no longer so eager to do your bidding.
“Lotor….” You exhale a shaky breath, and with it seem to remember we are not friends. “Your highness…”
Titles keep us separate, help maintain the distance. A distance that you yourself once insisted upon. How excruciating it must be, to have the roles reversed. To know there is no warmth in my eyes for you.
“Queen Allura…” I give the slightest nod of acknowledgment. “I did not expect you to come to Doom.” It is a lie I speak, for I knew you would come. I’ve left you no other choice. I’ve refused your calls, ignored your letters. The many petitions you’ve sent me? They’ve all been shredded, not even so much as a glance being spared their way. I’ve ignored you thoroughly, giving you a taste of what it’s like to be denied something you so desperately need.
Just as you denied me that which I once needed. It is fitting that the roles are reversed, and you’ll find I am no more merciful than you were, Allura. But unlike me, you weren’t the only one to suffer for my disinterest. All of Arus has, your people starving, sick and dying. The death toll rises on that war stricken planet, with no Voltron to protect you. Once I would have gladly slipped into that role, would have played savior to you and your people in a heartbeat. But I am no longer a foolish, love sick prince.
The Lotor you once knew? The man who would have leapt to attention at the slightest snapping of your fingers? He is long gone. And only the King remains, the ruler of
an Empire so vast it dwarfs you pitiable planet.
You and your world are beneath my notice. And that is something I’ve made you realize with my silence, my lack of interest in Arus’ problems. It is what drives you, bringing you to make the perilous journey to my world. All on the hope that some remaining affection can be used against me, used to improve Arus’ situation. I will not be so easily played, nor can you hope to manipulate me. Instead I will be the one to lay out the terms, and you will have little choice but to accept them if you want Arus’ saved.
I know you Allura. You’re still the same bleeding heart, the same earnest soul that works for the good of the people. The same woman that would starve herself if it meant a child could eat. Willing to do just about anything to help another, you’ve finally fallen enough to come crawling to me.
“I had to see you.” Allura tells me. Her eyes stay on me, tracking my movements as I walk over to stand before a window. The view is different from what it once was, a thriving city built up around the castle that is my home. But I am not looking at the buildings, or the people that walk on the city’s streets. Instead I am studying Allura’s reflection, watching how she fidgets with her hands, betraying her nervousness. It bothers her that I make no response to her words, Allura chewing at her bottom lip.
“Why have you ignored me?” She asks, and even her voice sounds weak. Vulnerable. “Why have you refused my calls..?.”
“I am a busy man, your highness.” I tell her. “I simply do not have the time to speak with everyone who would call on the ruler of the Doom Empire.” Her reflection seems to wince, and all because Allura remembers a time when I wouldn’t have ignored her calls.
“What about the letters I sent? The official requests? Surely you had time to look them over….” But uncertainty is in her voice.
“I have.” But she doesn’t have time to be relieved. “My decision remains the same. Doom will no longer send aid to Arus.”
“Why?” A single word, but all the hurt, bewilderment she feels is in it.
“It’s got nothing to do with me.” I sound unfeeling. “Or Doom.”
“But…” She shakes her head no, looking as though she might cry. “Your highness, Arus needs that help. We need that money, and we need those soldiers. Without Voltron…”
“You’re all but defenseless I know.” I interrupt her. “But as Arus is now, it is a worthless planet. Far too in debt to ever repay the Empire for the aid we’ve given it in the past.”
“We gave you Voltron.” She points out. “Surely that…”
“Just how much worth do you put on that robot?” I demand harshly. “It’s been ten years your highness. Ten years without a return on the Empire’s investments. Voltron could only buy you so much help….without something of equal value, I’m sorry to say the Empire cannot help you.”
“Lotor!” Again she breaks free of the distance our titles give us. “More of my people will die without your help…!”
“And I should care?” I ask. She twists her hands together, eyes looking very much like they will start to cry. I would relish those tears, savor her upset. Drive her further into the pits of desperation.
“You once would have.” She finally says.
Once I would have done anything to please her. To win her. Even care about that pathetic planet, and it’s people. I had been the desperate one, trying to get Allura to love me. To want me. Now Allura is the one who would do anything to go back to those days, to have me be the one to come begging at her door.
“I have become a practical man.” I retort. “Show me there is still value in Arus, still a reason for the Empire to loan you money and ships and the soldiers to fly them. Give me a reason to help your world.”
“It’s the right thing to do.”
“The right thing doesn’t always benefit the Empire. The right thing won’t bring a return on the Empire’s investments, won’t make up for the soldiers that might die fighting your wars. It won’t give me a reason to explain to MY people why we waste time defending a world that is worthless.”
“Lotor….please…..” Her voice cracks on a sob. “I am begging you…Help Arus…” She is blinking rapidly, all in an effort to keep from crying.
“No.” I start to say. “The Empire will not…”
“I am asking, begging YOU not the Empire….if…if ever I meant anything to you…”
“How terrible of you Allura. Trying to manipulate me.” My tone is even colder now.
“My people are DYING. We don’t even have the money to take care of ourselves. Please…” She takes a shuddering breath, head lowering. “I would do anything….” That word is laced with heavy meaning, but even then I do not pounce. I’ve waited ten years for this moment, a few minutes more won’t hurt.
“Anything Lotor…” Allura continues, stressing the word. “Anything at all…”
“This meeting is over with.” I say, turning away from the window. Her blue eyes look even darker, swelling with tears. It doesn’t hurt me to see them, nor do I want to comfort her. I start moving forward, having to walk near to her to reach the room’s door.
“Please….” Allura begs one more time, daring to reach for me with her hands. “I cannot go back to Arus without your promise to help us…”
I evade her touch but stop trying to go for the door. “And if I did help?” I ask. “If I lent you the money out of my own personal fortune, extended my hand rather than that of the Empire’s?” She didn’t so much as nod, just watching me with wet, desperate eyes. I knew that to Allura, it didn’t matter where the money came from, just so long as she got it’s promise. “What then?”
“Arus would be grateful…” She seemed to realize that wasn’t enough. “I would be grateful.”
“Gratitude is not enough.” I inform her. “You will step down from your throne. You will give up control of Arus to me.” I give her a bland smile. “I think we both can agree Arus will prosper far better under my guiding hand than yours.”
She is ashamed then, Allura’s cheeks turning red with embarrassment. But she can’t deny that Arus has practically been ruined under her rule. For all her earnest attempts, Allura had never been able to get Arus out of it’s financial slump through traditional means.
“I’ll have my secretary prepare the paperwork.” I continue, once again moving. I am almost out the door, when I pause. Acting as though the thought just occurred to me. “There is one more thing…”
She turns to look at me, so weary and defeated in the moment. “You will come to my bedroom this evening.” I say it in such a way, there is no room for argument. Tonight will happen, and I will take the ultimate payment out of her body. Allura doesn’t even try to protest, having known for a long time now that this was inevitable. But it doesn’t stop her from crying once the door is closed, my sharp ears picking up the sounds of her sobs. I give in to my smirk then, leaning against the door. Wanting to laugh.
How long I have waited. The fall of Allura at long last at hand. It had taken a decade, ten long years. Ten years of remembering the day you rejected me, turned your back on everything I had offered you. It was the day I thought to myself how with these two hands I would destroy you, strip you of everything in my attempt to obtain you. You’re not the Allura I once loved, you’re someone different. Someone who is just as sweet to watch fall. I will catch you, but there will be no mercy in the saving.