It took a second for Lotor to register what Allura had just said, the King more enamored with the sensation of her lips caressing his ear. He actually almost shivered, the combination of her warm breath and the promise in her words affecting him.
“Go ahead.” He said as she pulled back, the girl sitting up straight next to him. She looked surprised at his easy compliance, Lotor offering her a shaky half smile. “I’m all ears.”
He watched her become uncertain, Allura lifting her right hand to her bangs, brushing them back with a vigorous motion. Once completed, she smoothed that hand down the side of her scalp, causing blond tresses to cascade to the front of her shoulder. Hair in easy reach, she began twining a curl around her finger, her gaze aimed downwards. “It’s…it’s difficult to know where to begin.” She finally said, words almost sighing out of her. “Now that I have you here….there’s so much I want to say….and yet…I’m almost afraid to.”
“There’s nothing to be afraid of.” Lotor quickly assured her. “I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere. I’ll listen…”
“But will you understand?” Allura asked, eyes flitting upwards to peer anxiously at him. “Will you be able to do more than just get angry?”
“I don’t know.” Lotor said, giving her an honest answer. “It’s my hope I come to better understand you and the…things you’ve gone through.”
“I just wonder if you can.” Now she did sigh, the sound heavy and forlorn. “The concept of rape, it seems so alien to you, so foreign a concept. I wonder if you can ever see things from my point of view….”
“I can’t. Not entirely.” He hastily added before Allura could protest. “I lack the clarity that comes with being a victim, as a man—a Drule, I have little to fear in that regard. And I know our cultures are different…there’s been little need to rape someone when a slave is readily available.”
She held up her hand, frowning. “The first thing you need to do, is stop lessening the sex when the partner is a slave. The whole sexual experience with a slave is one of abuse, you are making that person your victim. They have no power, no right to say no to you, they must give in or be punished.” She made a sound, a bitter chuckle that lacked true amusement. “In most cases not only will they be punished, but they will be raped anyway.”
He was trying to understand, to see it from her eyes. It was difficult, Lotor frowning. “But….if they exist to obey their master’s commands….why is sex any different from being ordered to clean, or to cook?”
“We do not exist to obey commands!” Allura snapped, her eyes angry. “Almost every slave on Doom was once a free person. They had their own lives, and it was separate from the Drules. The whole concept of enslaving a person is abhorrent to me…” She suddenly exhaled, Allura trying to calm herself. “It’s wrong.”
“Perhaps.” It was the closest he’d come to agreeing with her, Lotor watching her face carefully. “But Allura…to my people, we know no other way. We capture the weak, put them to good use for us.”
“You could always pay them.” Lotor tried to imagine paying every slave in the Doom Empire a fair wage. It didn’t take him long to realize that would be a fast track towards bankrupting Doom. “You wouldn’t though, would you?”
“I’m afraid not.”
“I don’t know why I even bother.” She muttered that, words that were not meant to garner a response. She got one all the same, Lotor serious as he spoke.
“You try because you hope. You want to bring change to Doom, to better the situation for the people around you. I think a part of you knows this will most likely never happen, and yet you still try.” Allura was quiet, just listening to him speak. “You are idealistic…”
“Is that a bad thing?” She interrupted, sounding anxious.
“Not necessarily. But realty can be so much more different from ideals.” Lotor answered.
“So I’ve learned.” She murmured in agreement. “Doom has been quite the eye opener to the harshness of reality.” Allura fell silent again, Lotor shifting restlessly, the process rattling his chains.
“You never answered my question.” He wanted to get them back on track, knowing the key to healing their relationship lay not in discussing the hows and whys of slavery. “Why is ordering a slave to have sex with you so different from other commands?”
“It’s a violation….one on the deepest, most personal level.” She was quick with her answer, hands forming fists on her lap. “It’s your body being used, like it was nothing more than an object for satisfaction.”
“It’s true that not all masters care to see to the mutual pleasure of their slaves…” Lotor began, but Allura quickly cut him off with an angry outburst.
“An orgasm doesn’t make it right! You can force a person to have a reaction to you, to climax, but just because their body responded, doesn’t mean they enjoyed it beyond that base level!”
He blinked, knowing his surprise had to be showing. “You didn’t enjoy sex with me?” She actually flushed at that, her cheeks a pretty shade of crimson.
“No…not really…” Now Lotor frowned, his ego bruised. He knew he was an expert when it came to coaxing reactions from a woman’s body, and he had used his full arsenal on Allura countless times. On some level she had to have enjoyed it, he could still remembered how quickly she heated up from a few precise touches of his. She couldn’t have faked such a reaction, and considering her strong feelings on the matter, he knew she wouldn’t have tried.
“What, never?” Her blush deepened, Allura’s finger fidgeting as they played with her rose colored skirt, It seemed answer enough, Lotor staring at her. He was rapidly going over as much of their sexual encounters as he could recall, weighing her reactions before and after that night in the infirmary. “There came a point in our relationship when you stopped fighting me…”
“That was for Arus’ sake!” She exclaimed, voice a sharp retort. “We made a deal. I uphold my end of bargains…” Her tone seemed to imply he didn’t, Lotor fighting annoyance.
“There’s more…” Lotor couldn’t help it, his voice growled out the words. “I remember the time right after I rescued you from Morwin. The days after you had recovered…..we made love then….”
“It wasn’t love!” Allura protested.
“Fine. We had sex. Whatever term you want to use, you were happy then. You told me as much in your own words!” She actually flinched back at his shout, Allura bringing a shaky hand to her face.
“Try to understand….” She began, and when her hand lowered, he saw she had composed herself. “I had just been through an awful ordeal. I nearly died! Morwin almost whipped me to death…I was so grateful to you for saving me…for coming back for me….I think I was in shock. No don’t say it!” She hissed out, talking too fast for him to get a word in edgewise. “After what I had just been through, what had almost happened, you seem a million times more attractive. I was overwhelmed with emotion, and pumped on Haggar’s herbs….is it any wonder I had a moment where I thought I was happy?”
“Even afterwards…the days….weeks that followed….when I came to my senses…..you were all over me.”
“And not once did you refuse me!” Lotor pointed out, seeing her bow her head.
“I didn’t dare too!” Her eyes flashed, the blue bright with emotion. “Arus needed saving….and you had proven in the past just how strongly you reacted to the word no!” His mouth was an unhappy frown, Lotor all but glaring at Allura. His lack of speech seemed to serve to agitate her further, Allura giving a vicious twist of her skirt’s fabric. “I had to do anything I could to make sure my people and my planet survived. Even if it meant doing the very thing I had come to hate.”
“Is it sex, or sex with me that you find so horrible?” Lotor demanded. Allura guiltily lowered her eyes, fingers moving faster on her skirt.
“I don’t know…” She finally whispered. “I’m so mixed up inside. I don’t know anything anymore!”
“And I suppose it’s my fault that you are this way?” She was actually nodding at that, still refusing to look at him. Lotor made a sound, a thoughtful hmm as he considered what to say next. He wasn’t thinking long, Allura speaking up though she still refused to look at him.
“Try to understand…my whole world had been turned upside down. I had just witnessed my father being killed. The guards too, some of those men I had known my whole life. They were like family to me….and before I could even have time to properly grieve, I was taken prisoner…my world was gone, taken from me…..along with my rights as a person.”
“Go on.” Lotor urged her, seeing Allura lick her lips nervously.
“I was scared.” She said, voice holding a tremulous note to it. “I didn’t speak the language, no one was explaining what was to happen to me. And then they took away my clothes, and dressed me like a slave.” She shivered, raising her arms to hug them to her. “It wasn’t long before I was given to you. Left tied to the bed, blindfolded and afraid….You untied me, tended to my raw wrists. I almost thought…”
“Your kindness was an illusion.” She said, avoiding answering him. “You didn’t really care about me. You proved as much when you began touching me, and threatening me with the rope.”
Lotor tried to remember, but some of those early days with Allura were clouded, hazy memories that were pushed aside for all the things that had happened in so short a time. He hadn’t known then how special Allura would become to him, she had been just one in a long line of pretty faces.
“You can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to be touched against your will.” Her eyes were darting about, Allura looking everywhere but at him. “To feel things you’ve never felt before, to find your body reacting, doing the opposite of what you feel.” She was hugging herself even harder, her voice sounding distant a she got lost in the memory. “Has anyone ever held you against your will? No…I doubt it. It makes you feel powerless, even as you struggle, even as you fight to get free.”
“I…I didn’t fight as hard as I should have.” Her admittance made her tear up, Allura looking frustrated. “I was so scared of being tied again. I should have lashed out at you, done something, anything to get away.”
“I think in the end you did the right thing.” Lotor noted his voice seemed to startled her, as though Allura had forgotten he was capable of speech. “Where would you have gone if you had escaped? It would have only delayed the inevitable…I’d have caught you in the end.”
“But I’d have peace of mind!” She cried out. “I’d know I had fought, that I had done everything possible to avoid being raped. Instead I pretty much just sat there and took it. I might as well have lied back and spread my legs for you, so easy did I make it for you to rape me!”
“Allura no!” For an instance he forgot the chains, trying to sit up and inch closer to her. They held, leaving him frustrated at his inability to reach her.
“It hurt.” She continued, ignoring his outburst. “You stabbed into me with little thought or care to my comfort.” She had been a virgin at the time, that much Lotor remembered. “You stole my breath away, and not in a good way! I thought I would suffocate on that first thrust, your arms crushing me to your chest. You were so strong, and so big, it only served to remind me of my own weaknesses…..”
“I didn’t know people could hurt each other in this way.” She said it softly, a tear trickling down her cheek. “I thought sex was all about love, and beauty. I didn’t know it could be twisted and ugly. I never dreamed sex could be used as a weapon, that it could make someone another person’s victim!”
He stared at her, surprised. She truly had been an innocent if she had not known all that. Lotor wondered now at the kind of upbringing Allura had, the king thinking on her idealistic views when it came to slaves, and ending wars. She was the type to want to befriend her enemies, to lend a helping hand to all in need, regardless of the consequences or practicality of such a gesture.
“It wasn’t enough that you took me one time that night.” She was still speaking, Allura brushing angrily at her tears with her hand. “You had at me again and again! There wasn’t even time for the soreness between my legs to lessen! But then…I suppose a slave’s comfort doesn’t matter…!”
“I…I’m sorry.” Lotor said, abashed. “I truly did not think on how you must have been feeling at the time…I should have been a better lover to you…” She actually snorted at that, Allura frowning. “I can’t change the past…..but I can make things better for you, for us now.”
“You sound so sure of that…..but I don’t believe it!” She did a rapid shake of her head, Allura practically shouting. “Because…I remember. I remember all the days that followed, all the different ways you used me, and tortured me! I can’t forget….” She took a shuddery breath, once again hugging her arms across her chest. “You chased me down like I was an animal! You chained me up, used all manners of devices on me….you made my body turn against me….and even now…”
She suddenly cut off, Allura catching the words in her throat. “Even now?” Lotor inquired, sharp curiosity wanting to know what she had been about to say.
Allura was back to staring at her lap, her cheeks reddening once more. “Even now…my body sometimes….craves things.”
It was no laughing matter what she was telling him, but Lotor felt like cheering all the same. If her body was still capable of feeling desire, then that was something he could work with. “It’s only natural to want pleasure…” He began, and she reeled back as though he hit her.
‘It’s wrong!” She cried out, her distress apparent. “I shouldn’t want you, not even a little bit. But sometimes….especially when you start touching and kissing me…my body remembers the pleasure you were capable of giving me….”
“But other times? Oh…other times, you frighten me something awful when you make advances towards me.” She seemed to shiver, rubbing her hands up and down her arms in an attempt to get warm. “My heart starts beating faster than normal, and I just freeze up in fear. But…at least I am being true then….”
“True?” Lotor questioned with a frown.
“To Arus. To my people.” She clarified. “To their memory. To the values my parents instilled in me.”
His frown deepened as she revealed this new tidbit, Lotor shifting on the bed as best he could. “Allura, you’re not betraying anyone by being with me.”
“Can you really say that?” She asked. “Say it and mean it? My parents taught me to be with a good man, a kind and caring person. One who would never mistreat me. But it’s more than just you….it’s your people, your world. It’s the stuff of my nightmares. People aren’t meant to be cruel to one another…” She trailed off at his laugh, Lotor unable to keep from expressing his amusement.
“I’m sorry, but…it sounds like you were raised in a fantasy world. People are cruel, they are mean and do terrible things to one another.”
“NO! That’s the Drule way. Arus is different!” She sounded desperate to believe, Lotor flashing her a pitying look.
“Your parents loved you very much. They made sure to give you the kind of environment that love and peace thrive on. But Allura…how much of that extended to the real world, to the towns outside the castle walls?” Her brow furrowed, Allura looking confused by his words. “They sheltered you…and yes it’s a parent’s duty to protect their child, but they over did it! Perhaps they meant to ease you into it, to help you learn about the harshness of reality with the support and love of your family and friends.” He sighed then. “I’m sorry my father made that impossible. He…and in effect me and my people, gave you a brutal wake up call to what the universe is really like.”
“Wh…what are you saying?”
“People…aren’t all niceness and love. They can be mean, downright cruel to one another. They hurt each other, they kill and they rape. Even on Arus, such things exist. No world is a true paradise. There are battles, both little and small, people trying to do what they can to get by.”
“Isn’t that the Drule way you are describing?!” She demanded, shoulders stiff with her agitation.
“I’m sorry, no. Even humans are capable of such things. Maybe even more so than Drules.” Lotor sighed. “I’m sure you had prisons on Arus. Did you not ever wonder why there existed a need for them if everyone was so good and kind?!” She pursed her lips into a thin line, disapproval radiating off of her. “You had guards….they were there for your protection. If Arus was such a peaceful world, there would have been no need for them, or the army my father’s forces fought.”
He shifted again, starting to feel the pain of keeping his arms held out to his sides. “Your parents almost did you a disservice, teaching you such a black and white view of the world. It left you ill prepared for what happened to you.”
She was staring, Allura not saying a word, though tears began trickling down her face. “I know it’s tough to hear. But the reality is even worse. You went from being this loved child, adored by your parents and the focus of a kind and gentle king to being a sex slave on Doom. But Allura! You never succumb completely to adversity, never let your grief overwhelm you to the point you could not pull yourself together.”
Her silence was unnerving, Lotor almost wishing he could reach out and shake her to get a response out of her. “And now you’ve got this chance, a wonderful opportunity to be happy. And it scares you…”
“It does!” She said at last, Lotor almost taken aback by her passionate agreement. “Especially when I think of trying to find that happiness with you.”
“There’s so many reasons. You could be insincere. You could lose interest in me at any time…..but also…the thought of trying to be happy with the man that raped me…..it’s almost laughable.” But neither one of them so much as snickered, too busy staring into each other’s eyes. “But I’d have to learn to be happy if I stay with you…something that’s hard to imagine given the circumstances surrounding our relationship. And it’s not just you!” She quickly added. “It’s your people, your culture…so different from everything I’ve known. It’s been quite a shock to my system…”
“I don’t deny that it has.” Lotor acknowledged. “If I could change the past, I would have eased you into everything. I would have done a better job at helping you adjust, rather than sit back and watch you flounder.”
“Thank you for that….” Allura whispered.
“The time is coming Allura…” Lotor continued, forcing himself not to hesitate. “For you to stop clinging to the fantasy world your parents created for you. Or you can keep it, and run away from me. You can lock yourself away in your home on planet Quevra. Surround yourself with only those people that share your world view. And maybe, just maybe you’ll learn to be happy that way.” He gave a shake of his head, white hair settling across his shoulders. “But I don’t think you will be. Not completely.”
“Because of my children….”
“Yes.” He nodded. “You’re not that heinous a person to want to leave them behind.” She burst into tears, Allura suddenly hunching over, her hands over her face. “Allura!” Lotor cried out, alarmed.
“But I am!” She sobbed, voice muffled by her hands. “I am a horrible person for even contemplating doing that! It’s still four months away, and I don’t know what to do! I try and think I can be happy for my children, but I doubt! Oh how I doubt! I worry I’ll grow to resent them for keeping me here on Doom. What if that resentment turns to hate?! But I can’t just walk away either…I fear either choice condemns me to be miserable!”
She suddenly ceased talking, just letting out one loud sob after another, Lotor rattling his chains. She paid no mind to him, the king shifting, trying to jerk his chained hands free of the bed board. “Allura….” Another sob, her body shaking from the force of it. “Allura! Untie me!” She didn’t respond, and he let out a frustrated sound. He wanted to scream at her, almost as much as he wanted to take her in his arms and comfort her. He gave another vicious pull on his arms, feeling the chains dig harshly into his wrists and swore.
The cursing caused Alllura to gasp, the girl peering through the strands of hair that had fallen over her eyes. Seeing he had her attention, Lotor spoke to her, his voice taking on a commanding tone. “Allura, come here and undo these chains.” She blinked at him, then nodded, inching towards his left arm. Tears continue to leave their stain on her cheeks, and occasionalyl a soft hiccup escaped her lips.
But she got the chain untethered from it’s hook, Lotor not even waiting for her to unwind the coils from around his wrist before grabbing her. Allura let out a startled sound, almost panicked as he crushed her to his chest, holding her with his one arm. “Shhh…” he murmured, lips brushing against her forehead. “It will be okay.”
“What if it’s not?” She sniffled, blue eyes peering intently at him.
“It will be.” He assured her. “We’ll figure something out.”
“You sound so confidant.” Her comment made him sigh.
“Funny, I don’t feel that way at the moment.” She shifted against him, Lotor relaxing his arm. “Help me get my other hand free.” She nodded, and leaned across his chest, hands reaching for the length of chain. Once free of the hook, Lotor bent and flexed his arm, trying to get some of the feeling back into it. Allura climbed off of him, and crawled towards his legs, working to undo the chains from his right foot.
She had just finished getting his left foot free of metal, when Lotor drew up besides her. He reached out to touch her, Allura not quite jumping at his finger’s caress. He smiled sadly, holding back a sigh. It seemed now that the chains were off, she was back to not trusting him, leery of any and all touches. “We made some progress….didn’t we?” He asked hopefully.
“Maybe….it was…eye opening, that’s for sure.” Admitted Allura. “You’ve given me much to think about.”
“Don’t I always?” He half quipped, slowly reaching out to brush back her hair from her shoulders. This time she didn’t react, holding herself still as she tolerated his touch. He wanted to do more than just touch her hair, but he knew their talk had been emotional draining for the girl. She’d hardly be in a receptive mood to his advances at this point of their relationship. He couldn’t push her anymore, at least not tonight, Lotor knowing Allura would need time to rest and think over all the things that had been said.
“I’ll leave you to your dinner now.” Lotor said, wiggling his foot to get the feeling back into it.
“You’re leaving?” She sounded surprised, Lotor smiling at her.
“I think I’ve overstayed my welcome for tonight.” His feet tingled, sharp pin pricks that protested the way the chains had restrained him. He almost stumbled as he began to walk, Lotor retrieving his tunic, and his sword belt. “Good night Allura.” He added, glancing at her one last time.
“‘Good night…” She whispered, and Lotor hurried as best he could out of the room. He actually closed the door to her bedroom, pausing in the outer chamber to lean against the metal. This time he did sigh, Lotor feeling weary. He had staked everything on their talk tonight, and he still had no idea if she had come any closer to accepting him. He couldn’t even say he felt hopeful after all that, Lotor wondering if Allura would ever look past her grief and her guilt, and choose what would be best for them all.