She wasn’t sure how long she lie there, Allura unsure if she had slept at all during the night. The night had seemed endless, Allura laying in a crumpled heap on the bed, blankets pulled around her as she cried her heart out. She had moments of calm in between her sobbing, moments where she lost the will to cry, too weakened from her grief. It was perhaps the only reason she still had her voice, her throat raw from the grief she had expressed.
She felt like such a fool, Allura realizing she had set herself up for disappointment. She honestly wondered how she could have ever though she’d be able to go through with it, how she’d ever be able to be intimate with Lotor. She could remember feeling hopeful, the promise of a shared future with him and their daughters making her grow bold. It hadn’t been enough, Allura unable to chase away the self doubts and fears that sex brought to her mind.
But still she had pushed herself, so sure if she ignored her fears, she’d be able to go through with it. But the dream was so different from reality, Lotor all too real, her mind all too aware of him. Her anxiety had flared up, tension mounting the more he touched her, until she was practically screaming inside. The tearing of her panties had been the final straw, the sound triggering unwanted memories in Allura.
Memories she had thought she had buried, finding they flashed back to the surface of her mind far too quickly for her to ever be comfortable with Lotor. The sad thing was she was used to telling him no, long having grown accustomed to keeping him at bay. Where once she would have endured his attentions by simply laying there and taking it, now she found she could not be docile. Not now that she knew what it was like to have a choice.
Thinking of Lotor nearly made Allura break down into tears again, the girl recalling how happy he had been when she first broached the subject of making love. She cringed now to think she had ever thought they’d be capable of loving expression, now knowing whatever she called it, it would be just sex. Perhaps meaningful for him, but emotional draining for her.
Lotor had bee happy, hopeful, running through the gamut of emotions. He had even tried to be understanding, using the last vestiges of his patience in trying to comfort her. She hadn’t been prepared for his anger though, though on some subconscious level Allura knew she had to have known to refuse him once more couldn’t end any other way. It was more than just a refusal, it was outright rejection, Allura turning her back on everything Lotor offered.
Allura found herself wishing she could be normal, wishing she could be happy with what he gave her. She didn’t want to leave, not really, not so long as her babies were on Doom. But she had come to the realization that eventually Lotor would grow tired of waiting, he’d have pushed the issue of sex, he was simply too driven by his baser urges to accept a relationship without it.
She knew that, knew that to remain on Doom would mean accepting a sexual relationship with Lotor. Allura had even tried to come to terms with it in her mind, turning over the pros and cons of staying and leaving. She had thought leaving was an unacceptable situation, having grown far too attached to her daughters to leave them without the love of their mother. But she had been wrong, Allura finding sex with Lotor, maybe sex in general, frightened her to the point that she could do nothing but flee.
She was giving up on Lotor understanding, the man couldn’t possibly tolerate such a blow to his ego. He had proven it last night with how hurtful he had turned, his words snide and quick to cut her. He had listed things he had done for her, as though he was indirectly demanding payment from her. But his price was too high, Allura unable to give him her love, and incapable of having a consenting sexual relationship with him.
For one brief, terror filled instant, she thought he’d take her anyway, Lotor’s eyes wild with his anger and grief. She recognized the emotion in him, cause she too felt the mind numbing sadness of her words. He was in pain, a pain she inflicted, a pain he tried to give back a hundred fold with his words and his actions. Allura remembered him shoving his fingers inside her, no artful slide as he worked to prove a point. He didn’t seem to realize that in that moment all the touches in the world, good and bad, wouldn’t have changed her mind.
He just added to her distress, and she hadn’t even been able to sag in relief when he pulled his fingers out of her. He bristled with sexual violence, Allura not relaxing when he began dressing. She knew he could change his mind at any second, his mood such that all it would take was one wrong word, or an odd look for Lotor to jump her. She couldn’t remain around him, couldn’t spend the Gods only knew how many days waiting for him to lose what little control or the angry pride that kept him from raping her.
So she had asked the dreaded question, wanting to know when she could leave. He had snarled at her, she couldn’t read the emotions behind his question, just knowing Lotor believed it was easy for her to leave. She had assured him it was not, and he had retorted in kind, Lotor telling Allura not to leave. When she said she couldn’t stay, he had said words that had her stomach dropping, dark threats of forcing her to remain on Doom, to remain by his side. She knew what that would entail, and Lotor didn’t try to pretty it up with lies.
Allura was almost too calm as she pointed out it would prove he hadn’t changed. Lotor’s eyes had flashed, the king ranting and railing, sinking so low as to throw a punch at the bed’s headboard before leaving. She had no idea where he had gone afterwards, Allura spending many an hour worrying on what would happen if he returned to her room. Especially if he hadn’t calmed down!
It was that fear, and her upset over the whole situation, that had kept Allura up for most of the night. She had been so restless, crying as she stared at the crib by her bed, it’s empty state seeming to add to her misery. She had wanted to go to her daughters, Allura fighting her own urges, knowing it would be wrong to visit them when she was so visibly upset. Her grief would only disturb them, plunge her daughters into wailing messes, their cries echoing her own.
Allura sniffled, brushing the back of her hand against her eyes. They felt wet and puffy and were surely red from all the tears she had shed. She knew more would come, the days, weeks that followed would be an unending torment for Allura. Her hand landed on the locket on her neck, Allura fisting the cold metal as she thought of her daughters.
“I have to see them.” She decided out loud, not knowing when exactly Lotor would send her away. She refused to think on the possibility that he would keep her prisoner once more, Allura knowing whatever the case, the moments with her daughters were precious.
She was just slipping off the bed, when a loud knocking sounded on her door, Allura looking puzzled. She wasn’t expecting visitors, nor had she called down for a meal, her appetite gone for the moment. She knew of only one person who could be visiting her, but Allura doubted Haggar would be by this early. That left only Lotor, and considering the mood the King had been in last night, she doubted he would be so considerate as to knock.
Curious, she made sure to keep a blanket wrapped around her body, Allura shuffling out of the bedroom and into the outer chamber. The knock sounded again, insistent and loud, leaving Allura to wonder if it really was a repentant Lotor who was behind the noise.
The truth of the matter was even more surprising, Allura spying the four girls from Arus standing out in the hall. They looked bewildered and uncertain, a guard with them. “Come inside!” Allura said, stepping back from the door to allow the girls’ entrance. They hurried in, barely remembering to greet her, so confused were they.
“What are you doing here?” Allura asked, then realized how rude that sounded. “Forgive me…I just wasn’t expecting visitors. Of course you are always welcome to come see me, any time at all.”
“We were told to come see you.” Sasperella said, waiting until Allura had closed the door.
“Told?” Allura echoed, seeing the blonde nod.
“Yes. It’s apparently a royal order. We are to help you get ready.”
“Ready for what?” Her question had the four Arusians exchanging worried glances, the women coming off surprised that Allura did not know.
“Don’t you know?” Sumetra, Sasperella’s twin asked. “It seems you are being sent away!” Allura blinked, surprised. “We’re to help you pack!” added Sumetra, the blonde excited.
“Oh?” Dominque mimicked with a frown. “Is that all you can say?”
“Can’t you see she’s in shock?” Sasperella asked, coming forward to take Allura’s arm. Allura was unresisting, allowing the woman to lead her over to the couch. She sat when urged too, Allura barely aware when someone shoved a glass of cider into her hands.
“Allura, what’s happened?” The red head Andais asked, sitting down besides her. All four girls had attentive looks on their faces, staring worriedly at their princess.
Allura paused, for how long she did not know, staring down at the floor. Finally she sighed and lifted the cider to her lips, taking a long drink before speaking. “It’s over.”
“Over?” asked Dominique, the other three girls looking ready to protest.
“Yes…between me and Lotor.” Allura confirmed, and Sumetra blurted out a question.
“Did you and the King have a fight?”
“Sumetra!” admonished her twin, Sasperella.
“They must have for him to do what he’s done.” Sumetra said, hardly apologetic for her outburst.
“Don’t worry princess.” Dominque patting Allura’s revealed knee, smiling gently at her. “I’m sure you and the king will make up soon enough.”
“No…no we won’t.” Allura shook her head. “I’ll be leaving Doom soon…”
“Princess no!” They cried out in one voice, distressed at the thought of being separated from Allura.
“You’ll be coming with me as well.” Allura said, remembering the deal she had brokered with Lotor. “The king promised me that.”
“We’ll…we’ll be leaving Doom?” gasped Andais, the red head looking like she couldn’t believe the words Allura had just said. Allura nodded, and a flurry of excited chatter erupted form the women. But Sasperella frowned, clearing her throat to regain everyone’s attention.
“Allura…you can’t be leaving Doom. Not without your daughters!”
“Oh…oh dear…” Sumetra murmured, seeing the way Allura burst into tears. “I think that was the wrong thing to say…”
“Princess…” Sasperella kneeled before Allura, taking hold of the girl’s hands. “Please….tell us what’s happened. You are in distress…”
“We thought you had already made your decision to stay.” Added Dominique, Allura crying harder. “So many months have gone by…”
“Truly you must have had an awful fight with the King. But don’t let that drive you away.” Andais said, the sacrifice not lost on Allura. They had to know that if Allura stayed on Doom that would seal their fates, leaving them to wither away in Lotor’s harem. It almost made her cry harder, Allura realizing her choices affected more than just her daughters.
“I…I took him aside last night…” Allura began, feeling she owed them an explanation. But still the words were slow to come, the girl hesitant as she spoke. “I thought…” She sighed, shaking her head no.
“What did you think?” Sumetra asked, earning an angry shush from her sister.
“I thought I could be with him…” She explained, blushing furiously. “I thought I could be wtih him intimately…sexually…”
“You two tried to have sex last night?” Andais asked, and Allura nodded.
“Truth be known I assumed you had had sex with him long before this.” Dominuque said.
“We all did…” added Sumetra. “The king is not known for his patience…”
“I fear whatever patience he had has long since expired.” Allura replied. “He was so angry last night. When I stopped him he..” She shivered, feeling Sasperella give her an encouraging squeeze. “Never mind that….I told him I had to leave…and he seemed to agree…”
“But what about your daughters?” asked Andais. “He’ll never let you take them with you. Oh! I don’t mean to make you cry harder!” But that is what had happened, Allura pulling her hands away from Sasperella to cover her face.
“Can’t you…can’t you try to have sex with him?” suggested Sumetra, Allura letting out a loud sob. “Can’t you pretend he’s someone else?”
“Is that what you did when the king took you to his bed?” demanded Dominique, her snide question a fierce reminder that Lotor had bedded all the women in this room. Allura didn’t hear Sumetra’s angry retort, the words drown out by her body shaking sobs.
“Allura….” Sasperella sighed. “It’s difficult…maybe more than we can imagine. We’ve only been with the king a few times…we’ve never been the focus of his obsession. But…”
“He thinks he loves you…” interjected Sumetra. “Surely he would be gentle with you…”
“It doesn’t make up for the past…it doens’t let me forget!” Allura cried out, a tortured look in her eyes. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. If you had the choice, to bed him or to leave, which would you take?” The four fell silent, Allura letting out a bitter sound. “Answer enough if I take your silence to mean you’d go for your freedom.”
“Yes, but…” Andais was trying to be kind, running a hand through Allura’s hair at her blunt words. “We don’t have daughters to leave behind here on Doom.”
“I think she’s making the right decision.” Announced Dominique. “What woman in her right mind would want to be intimate with her rapist?” A challenge was in Dominique’s eyes, the girl daring anyone to refute her claim.
“But if he’s changed..” Argued Andais, and Dominique snorted.
“From his behavior last night, I doubt it! Storming into the harem like that!”
“He…he went to the harem?” Allura questioned, wondering why the thought of him doing that could cause a flicker of upset to run through her. She knew, KNEW that he wouldn’t abstain any longer from sex if he thought there was no hope for a relationship with her. And yet Allura found herself wishing he had had the decency to wait until she was long gone from Doom. Where word of her replacement would not reach Allura’s ears.
“He did!” answered Dominique, ignoring the twin’s attempt to shush her. “It’s all anyone can talk about! Romelle hasn’t even been back since late last night…”
“Romelle?” A stunned Allura repeated. “He took Romelle to his bed?” Dominique seemed to finally realize the effect her words were having on Allura, the brunette letting out a hasty assurance.
“I’m sure she’s fine.”
“I don’t know about that…” interrupted Sumetra. “She didn’t seem that willing this time.”
“Well, who could blame her!” Andais snapped, hands on her hips. “There was few women who would want him in the mood he displayed last night.”
“If he hurt her it’s my fault.” Allura realized, holding up her hand for silence at the four’s protests. “It is! I told him no, rejected him. And he went looking for a target!” They were silent, no one daring to reply. But the truth showed on their faces, the four believing Lotor capable of doing just that.
“Allura please…” Sasperella had found her voice, speaking soothingly to the former princess of Arus. “Don’t think like that. Don’t torture yourself with such thoughts.”
“How can I not?” She whispered in response.
“You can’t! You shouldn’t. Would you hold yourself responsible for every woman he takes to his bed, now and forever?” demanded Sasperella. Allura didn’t know how to answer that, a part of her thinking yes, she would.
“If I’m with him….it means he can’t hurt anyone else.” Allura slowly said.
“That’s not a reason to build a relationship with him!” Sasperella was exasperated, throwing her hands up in the air. To see her friend so annoyed, upset Allura, the girl whispering out a sorry. “No don’t be…and don’t let such thoughts manipulate you into staying. You can’t control the king forever!”
“I don’t know what to do anymore!” Allura cried out, one hand clutching at her head. “How can I let someone else go through what I will not?”
“We have no answers for you there…” Dominique said, the other three nodding. Allura made a frustrated sound, the noise echoed by the cry of a baby over the intercom. It appeared at least one of her daughters had woken up, needing to be fed or changed, maybe both.
“Come…” Sasperella was helping Allura to stand. “Dry your face and get dressed. And then you will go see your daughters.” She was already pushing Allura towards the bedroom, the blonde seeming ready to help Allura put on her clothing if need be.
“All right…” Allura said, rubbing at her eyes with the edge of the blanket. She couldn’t quite smile, but she nodded at Sasperella, whispering a weak thank you.
“For what?” Sasperella asked, Allura hesitating in the bedroom’s threshold.
“For everything.” Allura answered. “For being my sounding board, for comforting me…for being my friend…all of you, thank you.”
“Anytime princess.” Sumetra called out, the others echoing her words.