It was her daughter Alessandra who was doing the crying, the baby wide awake and kicking as she screamed her heart out. It was rare for Alessandra to be this vocal, but the child had a good enough reason. Her diaper needed changing, the child stinky and distressed. Allura made soothing noises to her daughter, noticing that Adora was also up, the twin looking annoyed at her sister’s screams.
“‘There, there little one.” Allura murmured, laying Alessandra down on the changing table. She quickly set about to stripping her daughter of her dirty diaper, tossing it into the waste bin. Alessandra lessened her scream’s intensity, Allura working to clean her bottom and put powder on it. She kept on speaking softly to her child, forcing the girl to lower her voice to make out Allura’s words.
New diaper in place, Allura smiled down at Alessandra, realizing that even this unpleasant task she would miss. She would miss so many things that involved her daughters, and not just the care they currently needed. She’d never get to see them crawl, or to take their first step. She’d never hear them speak, never know what their first word would turn out to be. She’d never see them get older than three months of age, never see the beauties they would blossom into.
Allura knew she would miss so much of their lives, and not just their childhood. Never would she be a part of their future, never knowing their husbands and her grandchildren. It was enough to make her tear up again, Allura holding back a sniffle as she picked up Alessandra.
“It’ll be okay…” She said, walking over to Adora’s crib, Alessandra now calm in her arms. “Somehow we’ll get through this…” But she had more than doubts, Allura knowing how final her decision made everything. She wondered if Lotor would tell their daughters about her, Allura wondering what kind of picture he would paint of her. Would he try to explain her actions, or would he make her out to be the villain of the piece?
“Maybe…” She began hesitantly, standing over Adora. “Maybe when you’re older you’ll look for me?” A tremulous smile quivered on her face, Allura stroking her fingertips over Adora’s curls. “You’ll come to Quevra and find me. And then….then we can get to know one another…”
Adora made a gurgle of sound, Allura hoping she’d never forget what her daughters’ sounded like. She continued to study Adora, noting that this was a point in their lives where they changed a little, day by day. Even a week of separation would have them looking different, Allura almost breaking down at the thought of not knowing what her daughters would look like within a few month’s time.
The deal she had brokered with Lotor hadn’t been very thought out on her part, Allura realizing she should have fought harder to get him to agree to let her be a part of their children’s lives. She should have insisted on visitation rights, on being sent detailed reports of how they were doing, and pictures and holos so she could see with her own eyes their growth progress.
“It’s not fair…” She muttered, fighting the tears in her eyes. “We shouldn’t be cut off from one another. I shouldn’t have to abandon you so completely!” But Allura knew why Lotor had set up things like this, the king wanting to make sure it was as difficult as possible for her to leave him and Doom behind.
“Will you remember me, my darlings?” Allura asked, watching as Adora grabbed hold of her finger. “Will you remember the love I held for you in these last few months? Or will I fade away from your memories completely?”
Neither twin gave her an answer, Adora shaking Allura’s finger as hard as she could manage. Allura sighed, and bent down over the crib, kissing Adora’s forehead. She knew it wouldn’t make up for the kisses missed throughout their childhood, Allura wishing she could take enough hugs and kisses from them to last her a lifetime. But she knew she’d never be satisfied with what she could gather on this day, each touch precious and limited to the moment.
She kissed Adora a second time, then let her freed finger graze the side of her child’s face. Adora giggled at that, Allura tickling her under her chin for a few seconds more. Alessandra stirred in her arms, Allura wondering if the girl wanted attention too. She started to straighten, and that was when Alessandra let out an excited coo, Allura tensing up as she realized they were no longer alone in the room.
And with the excited noises Alessandra was letting out, it could be only one person who stood inside the nursery. Allura tried to compose herself, to remain calm and unaffected by his presence. She started to turn, Alessandra continuing to be vocal in greeting her father. “Lotor….”
“Allura.” His voice was without inflection, his eyes cold as he looked at her. From all outward appearances he was calm, the angry agitation of last night a distant memory. But it was one she couldn’t forget, Allura not quite backing up a step when Lotor moved towards her. It was only because she stared at him that she saw it, the slight narrowing of his eyes. It angered him to see her movement, Lotor stalking forward even faster. “I heard one of our daughters crying over the monitors.”
“It was Alessandra.” Allura said, grateful for this chance at a normal conversation with him. “She needed to be changed.”
“Ah….then I’m glad I arrived late.” Lotor said, stopping before her. Alessandra was wiggling in Allura’s arms, wanting to be held by her father.
“You never did like diaper duty.” Allura acknowledge, reluctantly allowing Lotor to take Alessandra from her.
“I find it a task beneath me.” Lotor was haughty, his attention turning to his daughter. Only then did warmth creep into his eyes, the King smiling at Alessandra. “So much better suited for servants. Isn’t that right precious?” The last was spoken softly, Lotor not quite cooing to his daughter. “We leave the nasty work to others.”
Alessandra seemed to giggle, Lotor nuzzling his cheek against hers. Allura watched their interaction for a few seconds more, before turning to look at Adora. Her other daughter did not seem to care that her father was in the room, more interested with the diorama that dangled over the crib. Lotor continued to croon to his daughter, Allura noting it was all Drule he spoke. With that realization came a new worry, Allura not turning to look at him as she voiced her question.
“Will you instruct them in Arusian as well?” A pause from Lotor, the king falling silent. “It…it would be useful for them to know.” Allura added, fingers gripping the edge of the crib. “It’s part of their heritage after all.”
“By the time they are old enough to want to visit that backwater dump you call a planet…” Lotor grumbled, his insult to her home world causing Allura to tighten her grip on the crib. “Doom will have so thoroughly merged with Arus, that everyone there will be speaking Drule.”
“You’re not going to preserve the language?” A horrified Allura asked, Lotor letting out an affirmative yes.
“Oh the peasants can keep it up if they want, but it’ll fade within a few generations time.” Lotor let out a bitter sounding chuckle. “I dare say it will go the way of your ancient language….the one found in the lion’s lairs.”
She was blinking, eyes feeling hot and heavy. “I hadn’t thought of that….it’s their birthright to learn the ancient language…”
“And just who will teach them their birthright with their mother gone from Doom?” demanded Lotor. There was her opening, Allura taking a breath and turning to look at him and the adoring Alessandra.
“I…I could come back.” She suggested, trying not to look hopeful. “I could come for visits. See the twins and teach them what they need to know.” He just looked at her, Allura growing more bold with her requests. “They could even come and visit me on planet Quevra…I’d like that…”
“I’m sure you would. But Allura?” A cold, unfeeling smile from Lotor. “You agreed to give up your children to me, if you decided to leave Doom.”
“That means no visits, no pictures, no communications…no contact of any kind.” Lotor snapped out over her weak protest. “You might as well not exist, so complete will your…abandonment of our daughters be.”
“It’s too cruel…” Allura cried out, and Lotor nodded.
“Yes, it is. But I am not the one breaking up our family. You are.” His look was pointed, Lotor rubbing Alessandra’s back, the girl innocently making noise, unaware of the tension between her parents.
“That’s not fair…” Allura whispered. “You know I don’t leave because I want to.”
“Do I?” Lotor demanded. “Allura, I have done everything possible to make things all right for you. To make us be a family, to make us have a life together. A happy, successful future. You’re the one who decided it couldn’t work out.”
“You know why!” Allura exclaimed. “I can’t go on pretending any longer. I can’t have a sexual relationship with you.”
“You just don’t want to try.” Lotor retorted. “You give up too easily Allura!”
“I do not…”
“You do!” He hissed it, voice showing the strain of holding back his angry roar. Even Alessandra fell quiet at that, blue eyes huge as she looked at her father. “One time….just one time you ask me to sleep with you, and the instant we have a problem, you give up!”
“It’s not the first time…” Allura insisted. “There were other incidents…”
“But none of them were instigated by you!” Lotor retorted. “Allura, last night was the first time you approached me for sex! Every other time it was me who tried to get you to acquiesce to my desires. I thought we had finally made some progress, even with you panicking. But no! You get cold feet, and you throw away everything I sought to build for us!”
“You’re upsetting our daughters…” Allura said, voice quiet compared to his.
“They should be upset!” snarled Lotor. “Their mother is leaving them!”
“Can you say….honestly, that if I remained on Doom, you would not want to have a sexual relationship with me?” It was her turn to be demanding, Allura staring at him, already knowing his answer.
“I don’t think I can.” Lotor admitted, then snorted. “I’m through going months without you, without sex waiting for you to get over whatever new hang-ups you develop about sleeping with me!” He was glaring at her, nostrils flaring as he tried to control the volume of his voice. “Even last night, even with how close we came, I was willing to wait a little longer for you. That was before you decided to break my heart by announcing you were leaving!”
“I didn’t mean to break your heart!” She protested, Lotor’s expression turning sour. “I didn’t! But I don’t know what else we can do…”
“Neither do I…” He sounded tired just then, moving past her to walk over to Alessandra’s crib. She watched as Lotor gently laid the girl down, his fingers touching her face before he straightened. He seemed in no hurry to leave, just standing there staring down at his daughter.
“I…” She hesitated, nervously playing her fingers against one another. “I heard you visited the harem last night.” He glanced at her, expression unreadable. “Is my cousin okay? Is Romelle…”
“She’s fine.” Lotor cut her off, then smirked. “More than fine. She’s currently resting.” He almost looked smug, his eyes watching her carefully to see how hurt she became. “I’m afraid the poor girl got quite a workout last night.”
“I imagine she did…” Allura whispered, knowing he would have been hard to appease after going months without sex.
“We couldn’t keep our hands off each other.” Lotor boasted, his smirk widening. “And unlike you Allura, Romelle has no problem fucking me.” She actually flinched at that, wondering how much of what he said was true.
“So it was consensual then?” She inquired, seeing his brows draw together. “She wanted you?”
“Does it even matter?” Lotor demanded, and Allura sighed.
“You really haven’t changed have you?”
“I guess I haven’t.” Lotor retorted, pushing away from Alessandra’s crib. “And honestly Allura, why should I?”
“Because it’s the right thing to do!” He made scoffing noises at that, Allura’s cheeks flaming.
“And what has doing the right thing gotten me?” Lotor demanded, crossing his arms over his chest. “Certainly not you. Neither your body nor your heart!”
“You’re destined to fail if you do right with ulterior motives….” Allura pointed out, Lotor looking angrier.
“Oh no. You don’t get to lecture me Allura! Not after all I did for you!”
“Fine!” She exclaimed, her own voice rising in pitch. “Then I won’t. But I…I have a favor to ask you.”
“A favor?” He looked intrigued despite himself, coming closer to her. “And just what else could you hope to get from me?”
“It’s not for me…” Allura explained. “It’s for my cousin. I..I would like to take Romelle with me to Quevra…” He was shaking his head no, Allura frowning. “Why not?”
“She’s mine.” He told her, lips twisting into a sneer. “To do with whatever I want.”
“Does that whatever include abusing her in my place?” Allura demanded quietly.
“If I so want to, then yes.”
“Lotor please…” Allura let a pleading note slip into her voice, her hands clasped together before her. “Don’t do this anymore. Not to her…not to anyone…!” She let out a gasp, Lotor advancing on her so that her back bumped the side of Adora’s crib. But he didn’t touch her, instead placing his arms on either side of her body, hands gripping the crib’s bar as he trapped her before him.
“You have no right to ask me that!” He hissed, his breath ghosting across her face. She stared up at him, frightened, Allura not daring to struggle. “Not when it’s you who have caused this situation in the first place! Yes, you!” He snarled when she opened her mouth to protest. “I wouldn’t even need Romelle if I had you by my side. If I had you in my bed…anything that’s happen to Romelle is on your head Allura!”
He was all but confirming her worst fears, Allura trying not to think on what kind of suffering her cousin was going through. “You’re putting Romelle in the middle of OUR problems. Stop involving her!”
“If not her, then who?” Lotor gruffly demanded.
“No one!” Allura retorted. “No one should be used in this way. It’s wrong, and it’s selfish!”
“Don’t talk to me about what’s selfish!” Lotor snapped. “What’s selfish is leading me on for months, making me get my hopes up for nothing!” Her jaw dropped at that, Allura staring shocked at him.
“I told you from the beginning it wouldn’t be you I chose. I was up front about my feelings!”
“And I suppose that makes me the fool for not listening to you?” Lotor demanded, his voice tight with his anger.
“Yes! Yes, it does!” Allura boldly retorted, noting how narrowed his eyes grew at her affirmation. “Lotor please…” She tried again, hoping to get through to him. “End this cycle of abuse. Free my cousin…free the slaves of your harem…”
“If the thought of me with other women bother you so much, then…” He flashed her a feral grin, leaning into her so that his lips brushed hers with every word spoken. “Take their place.” She did a rapid blinking of her eyes, trying to wrap her mind around his suggestion.
“Or maybe….you need an added push.” He continued that intimate way of speaking, golden eyes blazing as he stared into Allura’s. “You can’t bring yourself to be with me willingly. Maybe you’re broken like you said…maybe you crave the choice to be taken from you. Hmm? Would you like that Allura? For me to impose my will on you?”
“Stop it…” She whispered, staying absolutely still so that no motion of hers could trigger a reaction from Lotor.
“Maybe what you really need, what you really want is for me to just take you. To throw you down on the ground, and shove up your skirt.” He suddenly grabbed her arms, Allura tensing up. “You can still be the good girl that way, the nice girl. The one who doesn’t do bad things with mean, horrible men like me!”
“No…” She was adamant in her denial. “I don’t..”
“Maybe it’s the only way for you to get over your fear of sex…” Lotor muttered, his words almost inaudible. “Giving you the choice was wrong….it just made you completely indecisive…”
“It gave me freedom…” Allura whispered. “And peace of mind.”
“You don’t look very peaceful right now!” Before she could point out it was his fault she was in this nervous state, Lotor was kissing her, mouth hard and possessive. She couldn’t help herself, she all but screamed into his kiss, Allura struggling, back bumping the crib. Lotor didn’t seem to notice, but Adora did, the girl growing upset both by the rocking of her crib and her mother’s scream.
“WAIIIIIIIIIIII!” Adora let out a fierce wail, Lotor freezing in place against Allura. She saw him blink, his eyes looking surprised, and then he was jerking away from her.
“Lotor….?” Allura didn’t dare move, not even to comfort her daughter, not when she feared his next action.
“You’ll be leaving Doom tonight.” Lotor was already turning away, stalking towards the nursery’s door.
“Tonight?” Allura gasped, shocked. “So soon?”
“You wanted to leave me.” Lotor had paused in the door’s threshold, but he kept his back to her. “I’d begin saying my good-byes now if I was you Allura. You won’t get a second chance to do so.” He had the decency not to slam the door shut as he left, Allura turning to pick up Adora. Alessandrra had picked up on her sister’s distress, or perhaps the girl was just distraught to see her father leave so soon. Whatever the case, it left Allura to deal with two squalling babies, the girl holding them both as she wandered over to a rocking chair.
She couldn’t stop shivering, even as she tried to comfort the twins, Allura wondering what was the point of Lotor’s crazy speech. Was he trying to drive her farther away? It certainly wasn’t the tactic of a man desperate to get her to stay, that much was for sure. “He’s so angry…” Allura murmured, voice crooning gently to her babies. “But then….what else could I have expected?”
She sighed then, rocking back and forth in her seat, twins resting against her chest. She kept going over her talk with Lotor, cringing at most of what he had said. And yet a part of her realized he still wanted her, no matter how angry he was. She didn’t know if that was good or bad, Allura fearing it might drive him to do more outlandish actions.