Enemy 14

Lotor was still in the room she had left him in, although his position had changed. He stood not by the window, but sat seated in a nearby chair, the book she had been reading open in his lap. Allura tried not to flush at the thought of him reading one of the steamy romances she favored, worrying he would get the wrong impression of her. Not that she thought such a thing would discourage him from her, if anything it might make him more ardent in his pursuit of her.

A pursuit that was almost ended, Allura trying not to clench her hands into fists as she reminded herself of the reason for seeking him out. She could already picture the smug smile he would flash her at the news, Allura condemning herself to an uncertain future as his bride. Just the thought of his gloating made her want to run away, but Allura knew she couldn’t do that.

Nor could she afford to delay things for much longer, Allura entering the room. The guard that was always present with Lotor met her eyes and offered up a bow, Allura nodding at him. “Gaston…could you give the prince and I a moment alone?”

Lotor looked up from the book at that, the surprise showing in his eyes. He knew as well as she did that Allura was loathe to be alone with him, ever since his show of aggression during their shared dinner.

“Of course princess.” Gaston the guard said, and moved to leave the room. Allura waited until he was gone, to shut the door, the princess wanting no eavesdroppers to overhear what she was about to say. It would simply be too mortifying to have more than one witness to her surrender to Lotor.

“I’m surprised you want to be alone with me.” Lotor said, closing the book. He set it aside on the stand next to the chair, and reached for his crutch. He began to struggle to stand up, Allura making no move to help him.

“I needed to speak with you.” She answered. “And I thought it better if we did away with any staring eyes.”

“Ah now, that has me curious.” Lotor said, at last standing up. “Whatever could it be, that you have to say?”

“I would think that you would know.” Allura retorted. “That you would already have some inkling of an idea.”

He gazed at her, a considering look in his eyes. And then he was turning, looking out the window. “I saw in the far distance what looked to be a lion launching. Red lion from the looks of it….tell me, what is the urgency that sent Lance flying?”

She blinked slowly, not expecting that question. “You know that Keith has been gone from the castle…?” They hadn’t exactly tried to keep Keith’s leaving a secret, nor had they bothered to inform Lotor of the reason behind his absence.

“Yes. He’s kind of hard not to notice his absence.” Lotor chuckled humorlessly. “Always glaring and angry, so hostile to me.”

“A hostility some would say you earned.” Allura quickly pointed off, but Lotor just shrugged.

“So tell me Allura, just where is the captain? And does Lance hurry off to aid him?”

“Keith’s mission was to find the remains of the Drule outpost. To search out the research facility, and see if he could find any leads.” Allura explained, and saw the confidence fill Lotor.

“He wouldn’t find anything.” Lotor did not grin, though he was sure of what he was saying. “The Keraclon are too good at wiping out traces of all life and activity…and with what’s at stake, there’s no way they would leave even a drop of evidence behind.”

“It was still worth a shot!” Allura insisted, still staying by the door. “We had to try…”

“Yes, I suppose you did.” Agreed Lotor. “And by the sound of it, you’ve realized how futile that try was.”

She hesitated, then let out a deep breath. “Keith encountered a Keraclon armada.”

“A pity for him.” Lotor said.

She noted he didn’t ask if Keith was still alive, either uncaring or assuming that the Keraclon had finished the captain off. “He managed to engage hyperdrive.” Allura continued, watching Lotor’s expression turn unreadable. “But there was complications…”

“Don’t tell me you lost him?”

Allura nodded. “Seems that way. Which is why Lance took off in a hurry. He’s gone to search for Keith. To bring him back if he can..”

“I don’t care about the captain.” Lotor stated bluntly. “But I do hope black lion is recoverable.”

“Why? So you can try and use Voltron in your dreams of galactic conquest?!” demanded Allura, shaking her head no. “I won’t allow you to. Even if I can change nothing else, the one thing I can make sure of is that you and your father never lay hands on Voltron with the intent to do harm to another world!”

“You won’t allow me to?” He arched an eyebrow at her. “Then what will you allow?”

It was the perfect opportunity to admit to the reason she had come to him, Allura remaining rooted to the spot by the door. “An alliance between our two worlds.” She said at last. “A peaceful joining, where both worlds thrive, neither one the master of the other. Doom will get no slaves from Arus, and if your father wants some of our natural resources and exports, he’ll have to pay my people a fair price for their time and efforts.”

“What about us?” Lotor hardly seemed interested in what she had said, eyeing her now. She didn’t try to feign ignorance towards what he meant, Allura biting her lip uncertainly.

“I know there can be no alliance between our worlds without…certain things being done.” Allura admitted, her tone bitter now. “So yes, Lotor. I will marry you.”

He didn’t smirk like she expected, though heat flared in his eyes. “If that’s true…” He did an awkward gesture, pointing to the floor before him. “Then come here Allura.”

She frowned at him, making no move to obey. “You do not get to order me around!”

“Ah but I do have a right to want my bride to be to stand with me, not cower with the distance of a whole room between us!” Lotor countered. She bristled at that, Allura knowing she may have been trying to keep herself safe from him, but she was most definitely not cowering. “Besides…” added Lotor. “You’ll have to get used to my nearness and more.”

“More?” She echoed with dismay.

“We’ll be a married couple, and all that entails.” Lotor told her, and she wondered if it was his kindness to her that he didn’t go into explicit detail. But still she didn’t move, and Lotor expelled a deep, frustrated breath. “You’ll have to let me touch you eventually…”

“I’ll honor my marriage vows but I won’t let you touch me a moment before we are officially wed.” She retorted, knowing that was the only way she might be able to hold on to her sanity. “It’s probably more than you deserve, and I doubt you will show the same courtesy to me!”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Lotor demanded. “You think I won’t honor the vows we exchange? That I will be unfaithful?” She didn’t say anything, but her silence seemed to goad him on, Lotor walking towards her, agitation rolling off him in waves. “Damn it Allura, why do you always think the worse of me?!”

“Because you show me nothing but your worse side!” Allura retorted. “I don’t even think any goodness resides in that black heart of yours!”

He frowned at her, Lotor slowing to a halt before her. She felt boxed in by the door, but made no move to evade him. “Perhaps I’ve been….unkind in the past.” She made a scoffing sound at that, Lotor flashing his fangs at her in his annoyance. “I’ll just have to work to show you there’s more sides to me than just the one you’re familiar with.”

She didn’t doubt it would take a lot of effort on his part to even come close to proving her wrong about this. Allura didn’t even know if she was willing to discover another side to him, wanting to hold onto her impression of Lotor as a cold, evil hearted bastard.

“You don’t look like you believe me.” Lotor noted, and she shrugged.

“It doesn’t matter what I believe.” She spoke quickly, noting Lotor looked ready to object. “Now, the information if you please. I want to get to work right away replicating this…weapon, whatever it is, that works against the Keraclon.”

A long pause followed, Lotor just studying her. She shifted, uneasy and annoyed by the attention. “Lotor? Tell me already!”

“No. I don’t think so.” Her eyes widened, Allura frowning at him. “Not until after we are wed, and have…consummated the marriage.”

“More of your conditions?!” She demanded bitterly, and he smirked then.

“Call it a precautionary measure on my part.”

“I don’t break my promises, unlike you!” Allura retorted.

“And yet I get the feeling you would break this one if given half the chance.” She fell silent at that, wondering if Lotor was right. Would she really become so dishonorable if it meant escaping him? “So no, Allura…” Lotor continued. “I will not be blabbing any secrets just yet.”

“Damn you!” She spat out, feeling a burning wetness in her eyes. She blinked rapidly to dispel the tears before they could fall and further mortify her, Allura glaring angrily at Lotor.

“I suppose that advisor of yours is drawing up the proper papers for this union?” Lotor asked musingly. “That’s good.” He said to her numb nod, Lotor smiling. “I’d like to be wed before this day is over with.”

“So soon?” Allura grit out, but knew they really couldn’t afford to delay. Lotor knew she knew as well, the prince giving her a patronizing look.

“I know you would love to have a long engagement, but we don’t have the time, nor do I have the patience to wait it out.” He leaned in closer to her, Allura’s back bumping against the door as she tried to avoid him. “Besides, I think the last two years have been torturous enough.” He fixed her with a look, almost chiding as he spoke now. “You tire a man’s patience with these drawn out flirtations, this playing hard to get.”

“I wasn’t doing it to flirt with you!” An enraged Allura exclaimed, thinking Lotor was delusional if he believed that.

He ignored her protest, reaching for the door. “I’d like to call my father now.”

“You’re father?!” She squeaked out as the door was thrown open. Gaston was standing there, red faced and flustered to have been caught trying to eavesdrop. Lotor gave the guard a reproachful look, but otherwise ignored him.

“Yes, to share our good news.” Lotor said, and gestured for her to precede him out the room. “I’m sure he’ll be ecstatic over our impending nuptials…”

“Ecstatic is hardly the word I would use…” muttered Allura, stepping out of the room. Lotor followed her, his pace much slower due to his twisted ankle.

“Besides…I’m sure he’s been worried about me.” Continued Lotor. “He might even think I am dead….it will be good to dispel him of that notion.”

“I didn’t think Zarkon was the kind of father to care…”

“Oh, he probably doesn’t, not in the normal sense of the word.” Lotor hardly seemed bothered by what he was saying. “But I am his only heir, and the leader of his armies…It would be a double blow to lose both.”

She couldn’t imagine the kind of world he came from, the kind of environment he had grown up in. To have a father, and not have that man care for you, love you, seeing you only for the things you could do for him. It made her grow quiet, Allura escorting Lotor to the room she and the Voltron Force often used for strategy planning sessions. There was a view screen inside it, it’s connection strong enough to make interplanetary calls.

She looked questioningly at Lotor, the Drule Prince rattling off a long number. “It’s the direct line to my father’s private study.” He explained. “Not many know this number, and few would dare use it if not for a serious matter.”

Allura shivered, not wanting to dwell on thoughts of what Zarkon did to those who bothered him with what he did not consider serious. “I see…” She started to input the number, but paused on activating the call. “How’s he going to take the news? I mean…how will he handle it, seeing you by my side?” She wasn’t about to leave him alone, not when there was a chance he’d tell Zarkon about the weapon.

“He’ll manage.” Lotor smiled. “It’ll take a lot more than our marriage to give the old man a heart attack.”

“He’d need a heart for that first.” She muttered, activating the call. Lotor gestured for her to come stand beside him, and she did so reluctantly. The monitor of the view screen flickered, loud static and snow flickering before the image settled. They had to wait a good fifteen minutes before Zarkon deigned to pick up, and she nearly jumped back at the sight of his angry face.

“Lotor!” A hot rush of words sped out of Zarkon’s mouth, the evil King speaking not in Basic but in Drule. He barely seemed to notice Allura, his attention all for his son.

“Father, calm down.” Lotor said, doing the slightest of bows. “As you can see I am fine, and in relatively good shape.” More of the Drule’s language from Zarkon, Lotor letting out an airy, unconcerned chuckle. “In basic if you please. So my….host doens’t feel left out of the conversation.”

Zarkon’s eyes narrowed, the King taking a good look at Allura. Neither one of them smiled, Allura’s face stormy and upset as Zarkon glared at her. “Is that Princess Allura of Arus?” Zarkon demanded, and Lotor nodded a yes. “Hmph, I thought it was one of your regular sluts. You know those whores all look alike to me!”

Her cheeks flamed at the reminder of Lotor’s obsession with blue eyed, blonde humans, but wisely she kept her tongue still. “So Lotor! Where are you?! And are you her prisoner, or is she yours?!”

“Does it look like either one of us is under guard?” Lotor asked, and Zarkon snorted.

“No, but she certainly looks miserable enough to be your prisoner!”

“Well, she’s not.” Lotor retorted. “And neither am I hers. Though I am in her gentle care.” Another smile then. “Father, I have good news for you! I…”

Zarkon interrupted him, seeming not to care for Lotor’s good news. “Did you tend to the matter I sent you out on?”

Lotor sighed, seeming put out by Zarkon’s question. “Yes father. I have.”

“And were the results as we expected?” When Lotor nodded, Zarkon switched to Drule, expression demanding. He frowned when Lotor shook his head, the prince speaking in Basic. “I will tell you soon enough but not until after the wedding.”

“What wedding?!” Zarkon demanded, forgetting to speak in Drule.

“Why mine and Allura’s!” Lotor said, and smiled at the princess. She didn’t return the smile, just gazing angrily at him.

“I thought you said she wasn’t your prisoner!” exclaimed Zarkon.

“She’s not! However…we came to agreement. Her hand and her planet, for the information I possess about the Keraclon.”

“You told her about the Keraclon?!” Zarkon was angry and aghast, pounding a fist on the arm rest of his chair.

“Oh not yet. Not until after the wedding. Until then I won’t be telling anyone what I know. You understand, can’t risk the word traveling over the airwaves and being intercepted by those who would…betray us.”

Zarkon grimaced then, Allura realizing the King agreed with Lotor, but didn’t like it. Neither Drule wanted to chance such sensitive information being broadcast to the so called wrong ears. They failed to realize Allura would blab it all to anyone who would listen, thus ensuring the entire galaxy was safe from the Keraclon’s threat.

“Now, Allura’s advisor Coran will soon be sending over the official documents of both our marriage, and the alliance we’ve made. Do go over it at your leisure.” Zarkon grumbled something in Drule at that, earning another smile from Lotor.

“Calm down father, I’m sure you’ll like what I’ve done. It’s a treaty that’s mutually beneficial to both our worlds.”

“It better be.” A threat was blatant in Zarkon’s voice, his gaze still so hostile and angry. “Hurry up and marry her Lotor. I want you on the next ship to Doom! I won’t have any more delays when it comes to dealing with the Keraclon.”

“Of course father….I will leave for Doom as soon as it’s feasible.”

“You better.” Warned Zarkon, and the communication abruptly shut off. A tension Allura had not been aware of, left Lotor, the prince noticeably relaxing. But she couldn’t, Allura whirling to face him.

“You didn’t tell him about the lions!”

Lotor waved a hand, as if it was unimportant. “We’ll deal with that bit of unpleasantness when the time comes. Until then, let my father harbor his delusions about using Voltron to advance his empire.”

“He’s not going to be happy about this, or the fact you kept it from him!” pointed out Allura.

“He’s NEVER happy.” Lotor grumbled. “Always bitching and yelling, complaining about something or other. This will just give him new fuel to his anger.” She shivered, thinking of the people, the slaves who would most likely suffer for Zarkon’s tantrums. “Besides, we have more important things to worry about.”

“The Keraclon.” Allura said automatically, but Lotor laughed and shook his head.

“No, more like what are you are going to wear to the wedding.” She blinked, hardly pleased he could worry about such an inconsequential thing. “A bride needs a dress, though I must admit I’m more concerned with what you’ll wear under the gown.”

She flushed, flustered and tempted to hit him. She was both surprised and yet not, that Lotor could be so concerned with such an unimportant thing. “It doesn’t really matter.” She insisted. “None of it matters….”

“I suppose it doesn’t.” Lotor agreed after a pause. “The wedding is generally just a load of money wasting frills. The ceremony that binds us together is the important part.” A saucy grin then, Lotor’s eyes dancing with wicked merriment. “As is the consummation of those vows.”

She didn’t bother to dignify that with a retort, Allura angry and spinning on her heels. She heard Lotor’s laughter, his chuckles chasing after her into the corridor outside the room. There were guards here, and at a word from her, one moved to take Gaston’s position of escort to the prince. Allura couldn’t do it, feeling she couldn’t stomach more than a few minutes at a time in Lotor’s presence. That made her worry, Allura wondering how she was gonna handle not only being married to Lotor, but having to do things with him, and stomach him doing those same things to her.

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