There was something going on, that much she was sure of, taking note of the nervous energy all around her. It lingered in the air, a heavy, oppressive feeling, Allura turning suspicious as she thought back on the doctors and the tests they had run. Blood had been drawn, vials and vials of it, Allura being pricked so many times she was amazed her veins didn’t run dry.
They had even wheeled a machine into the room, some kind of x-ray where they forced her to lay down on her pain stricken back, rubbing a cold jelly on her belly. A round object had been rolled across her slicked up skin, doctors crowding around the monitor, blocking her view. She had heard noises, it sounded like a heart beat, and the gathered men and women had grown excited.
The final indignity was making her pee in a cup, the doctors rushing off with the sample before she could even question them for what it was for. It was a whole lot of fuss, and it seemed to have little to do with the injuries on her back. To the doctors, her pain was secondary, the physicians almost reluctant to acknowledge her injuries. But after what seemed like hours, finally a nurse entered, helping Allura to peal off the gauze, soap and clean water being used to wash out her wounds.
She had been holding Lotor’s uniform against her front when a doctor had entered, the man carrying a white briefcase. He laid it down next to her on the bed, the case clicking open with a sound, revealing a wide array of surgical instruments. Allura had been given a shot, something to numb her body, and then the doctor set to the task of sewing up the gash in her shoulder.
Even with the numbing agent in her body, she could still feel the needle piercing her skin, Allura cringing as the doctor did delicate stitches, pulling the gash closed. She was grateful none of her other cuts needed stitches, the doctor allowing the nurse to once again fit Allura for gauze. She had just been pulling on Lotor’s uniform, careful not to wrench her shoulder and risk tearing open her stitches when a knock sounded on the door.
Allura looked up hopeful, but it was dashed at the sight of Commander Cossack. He seemed to sense her disappointment, offering an apologetic smile to her. “Sorry, it’s just me.”
She just nodded, feeling quiet and shy, the nurse gathering up the doctor’s things off the bed. Cossack eyed the bent over nurse’s backside, his lips twisting into an appreciative leer. It was gone by the time the nurse turned, Cossack’s face serious once more. Without a word, the nurse exited the room, Cossack turning to close the door behind her. He then took up position against the wall, arms folded across his chest, his eyes staring at Allura.
It made her uncomfortable, Allura fidgeting in place. Cossack noticed, surprising her with the concern in his voice. “What’s the matter? Are you in pain? Allura in pain?” He simplified his question for her, Allura nodding.
He looked torn over what to do, chewing on his lip as he considered her. “I don’t want you to suffer…Lotor will kill me if you’re in needless pain. But…he’ll kill me if they give you something that makes you lose the baby!”
Allura just looked at him, barely understanding even half of what he said. “I know!” His eyes seemed to light up, Cossack opening the door. “Nurse! Nurse!” He banged his fist on the window, rattling it. “”Someone get a nurse in here!”
A woman appeared, her wrinkled face concerned. That look soon turned to one of annoyance, seeing Allura sitting on the bed, for all appearances just fine. “What is it?” She demanded of Cossack, and he pointed a finger in her face.
“This girl needs pain medication! Something that won’t affect the baby.”
“I can give her a pill…” began the nurse.
“Good. And you’re going to take one too.” Cossack said, grabbing the woman by her arm.
“What?!” Her eyes were wide, Cossack nodding.
“Yeah. That way if it’s poison, you die too!”
“Poison?!” scoffed the nurse, her hand reaching into her pocket. Cossack snatched the item she removed from it, glancing at the label. “This is a place of healing, not a….not a death camp.”
“Yeah, yeah, save it for your maker.” Cossack shook out a pill, then handed it to the woman. “Now swallow this!”
“I need all my mental faculties to do my job!” protested the woman. “I can’t take a dosage of that strength!”
“Swallow the pill before I cram it down your throat!” growled Cossack, a second before the woman slapped him with all her might. He nearly dropped the bottle of pills, staring stunned as the nurse ran out of the room.
“Well, that didn’t go to well…” He muttered, staring at the bottle of pills in his hand. He turned back to Allura, the girl reacting to the dejected look in his eyes. She stepped towards him, placing a hand on his arm. “What?”
“It’s okay.” She told him, seeing him frown.
“You don’t even know what’s going on, do you?” He wondered this out loud, Allura cocking her head, an inquisitive look in her eyes.
“Tell me?” She said hesitantly, and Cossack seemed to grow nervous.
“Oh man….it’s not my place to tell. Look, I can guard you, I can get you pills, I can even get you food, but dropping a secret like this without the prince’s permission…..No way!”
“Where is Lotor?” Allura asked instead.
“The prince? Um…” More hesitation from Cossack. “He’ll come soon.”
“Take me to him?” Allura asked hopefully, fixing Cossack with the full effect of her earnest blue eyes. “Please?”
“Just sit tight Allura.” Cossack said, seeming weak to her stare. “He’ll be here soon.”
She sighed, and backed away from him, shoulders drooping dejectedly. She wanted out of this hospital room, and away from the doctors and their hundreds of tests. She was in pain, and more than that, her stomach was growling, Allura having gone a full day without anything to eat.
“Maybe you should lie down.” Cossack suggested, watching her pace. She couldn’t help but limp, the tears on the back of her knees making it painful to bend her legs. Even with the pain, she was unable to remain still, Allura wanting to do many things, sleep, eat, see Lotor. She wanted him to explain what was happening, wanted to let him know she knew he had taken a great risk to get her back. She shivered, remembering the reception they had received upon returning to Doom, the hundreds of soldiers with their weapons trained on them and the ship.
The demon had been among them, the King angry. Yelling and shouting, talking of death. She wondered what Lotor had told him to calm him down, Allura seeming to shake as she recalled the touch of Zarkon’s fingers in her hair. His touch made her want to scrub her skin clean, even as her body protested the thought of taking a shower while it was in so much pain.
The pain was a constant buzz in the back of her mind, Allura wondering why the doctors hadn’t given her something to dull her aches, numb her to the agony she felt. Even the numbing agent they had used when sewing up her shoulder blade had been a mild dosage, hardly effective against the doctor’s needlework.
She let out a sigh, a deep huff of air, turning to catch sight of Cossack. He was staring at her, watching her as though he expected her to break, his brow furrowed in concern. His looking was making her uncomfortable, Allura not used to the guards devoting so much time to the study of her. She found herself wishing he would go away, leave her to her thoughts and her endless pacing.
People were on a constant move outside her room, she could see them hurrying past the window, occasional glances sent her way. Cossack seemed to tense up every time someone walked by, as though he expected something bad to happen. That thought made her frown, Allura glancing at him once more. He was still frozen in place against the wall, body stiff and at attention. It was though he was guarding her, and her eyes widened as she realized that must be the reason he was here.
That made her agitated, Allura wondering what else could happen to her this day. She was suddenly grateful for his presence, thinking he would stand between her and whatever danger lurked outside the hospital room. Now more than ever she wanted to see Lotor, wanting his strong arms around her, and his reassurance that she would be protected.
Another turn, Allura’s back to Cossack as she resumed her pacing. She slowly walked the length of the room, passing by machines and monitors, all silent for the moment. She turned again, just as the door started to open, Cossack’s hand dropping towards the blaster on his belt. His fingers hovered, tense and ready to draw on his weapon, both Cossack and Allura watching as the door opened all the way.
He looked as disheveled as Allura felt, the prince standing there bare chested with blood staining his hands. Her blood, and the blood of Prince Morwin she realized, yet she felt no revulsion. She was glad that awful, awful man was dead, a thought that made her worry that she was becoming a bad person. She shook off the thought, Allura opening her mouth, ready to cry out Lotor’s name.
But Cossack’s voice drowned out hers, the man letting out a loud exclamation. “Geez it! Knock before you enter! I could have shot you!” His hand had relaxed at his side, the commander letting out a relieved breath.
Prince Lotor didn’t acknowledge his words, his eyes on Allura. “Why aren’t you in bed?” He asked, taking a concerned step towards her.
“Couldn’t sleep…” She said, and before she knew what happened, she was in his arms, her body plastered against his. Lotor touched the back of her head, fingers stroking her hair gently. She pressed her cheek against his chest, listening to the soothing sound of his strong heart beat. He bent his face towards the top of her head, nuzzling his nose against her hair.
She didn’t protest. Not even at the thought of how dirty she was, body stained by sweat and blood. She was just glad he still wanted her, even after all that had happened.
“I thought you’d never come.” Allura whispered, letting him know how impatient she had been for his arrival.
“Very few things could keep me from you for long.” Came his answer. A cough accompanied his words, Cossack making sounds to remind them he was still in the room. Lotor turned to look at him, Allura peering around the side of his body to look at the embarrassed commander.
“Uh right….” Cossack said in reply to the stern look Lotor gave him. “I’ll just uh….make myself scarce.”
“Hey….maybe I can get Allura something to eat. I bet she’s hungry….” Cossack said musingly. “After all, pregnant women eat a lot!”
“Get something for us both.” Commanded Lotor. “In all this excitement, I’ve yet to eat this day.”
“Man, running on adrenaline alone?” Cossack commented.
“Have the meal brought to my chambers.” Lotor told him. “I’m sure Allura is as eager to leave this place as I am.”
“All right. I’ll do that.” Cossack walked out of the room, closing the door behind him. Before it shut completely, Lotor had turned back to Allura, the pair all eyes for each other.
“How have they been treating you?” Lotor asked, his fingers smoothing back tangled curls from her cheeks. “Doctor good? Bad?”
“But?” He pounced on her hesitation, Allura frowning as she tried to think of the word in Drule.
“Good but strange.” She said at last. “Lotor….what is going on?”
His face went blank, Allura watching as he forced all emotion to leave his eyes. He wanted to hide something from her, something that had to be bad. The realization just made her more determined to find out, the girl reaching up to capture his cheeks n her hands. “Tell me.” An insistent command, Allura peering at him intensely.
“Not here. Not now.” Lotor replied, just as insistent as she.
“After you’ve recovered.” That made her frown, Allura shaking her head no. Lotor touched the back of her hands, gently prying them off his face. “Allura, you need your rest. The last thing I want is to trouble you with this.”
It just left her frustrated, the very thing he sought to protect her from causing her thoughts to turn troubled. “I’m sorry.” He added, dropping her hands. “Soon I promise.”
“Soon.” She echoed, nodding her head firmly.
“Let’s leave this place.” Lotor said, and she let out a gasp, finding he was sweeping her off her feet. She grabbed at his shoulders for balance, Lotor hefting her up in his arms.
“Where?” She asked, then added, “Bedroom?”
“Yes, my bedroom.” Lotor confirmed with a smile. “No more harem for you Allura.”
That left her experiencing a mix of emotions, Allura quiet as Lotor strode out of the room with her. She didn’t think she would miss the harem, but she knew she would miss her friends. The twins, and the other girls from Arus. But aside from them, she had no other reason to return to that awful place, Allura quick to realize she was eager to reclaim her place at Lotor’s side.
The happiness she felt at being in his favor once more made her frown, Allura questioning her feelings. How quickly things seemed to have changed, Allura going from hating being in his bed, to wanting his touch. To finding it safe and supportive. She was even, dare she think it, comfortable around him, maybe even learning to actually LIKE the man.
Lotor didn’t press her to speak, moving rapidly once out of the medical wing. She glanced up at him, studying his face, noting how handsome he was. She didn’t think she was so shallow as to be moved by appearances, and yet she wondered. Wondered and thought that if under different circumstances, had she not been kidnapped and raped, if she would have found herself attracted to Lotor.
She felt a pang in her heart as she thought of the what ifs, realizing they would never know what could have been. She could drive herself mad questioning the endless possibilities, the what ifs of how she could have fallen for him, the what if of if Avok had not been in the picture, the what if of if they had been just two normal people meeting under normal circumstances.
The thoughts made her sigh out loud, Lotor glancing at her. “Problem?”
She was quiet a moment, then shook her head no. “Just….tired.”
“You’ll sleep soon. I promise.” Lotor said, turning down another corridor.
“Okay.” Allura said, resting her head on his chest. She watched them move through the castle with sleep filled eyes, seeing the surprised looks the people passing them by gave them. She knew they must have made some sight, a bloodied prince carrying a slave dressed in the top half of his uniform. Even under normal circumstances, they seemed to perplex people with their appearance, their apparent closeness.
They were turning down the corridor of the harem when they ran across Cossack. The commander bowed quickly, then stood up smiling. “The meal has been delivered to your room! I made sure to personally test all the food myself.” He seemed to stifle a burp. “There’s no danger of it being contaminated.”
“Thank you Cossack.” Lotor said, and continued on his way. It didn’t take them long to reach his private chambers, the rooms were located close by to the harem.
Upon entering the bedroom, Lotor didn’t immediately set her down, choosing instead to carry her over to the table where a steaming hot meal was laid out. Once again Allura found her stomach growling, the girl eager for the food.
The prince deposited her in a chair at the table, moving to take a seat across from her. Allura was so hungry she reached for a plate before him, Lotor’s hand moving to cover hers. “Allura…?”
“Before you eat….I have something for you to take.” He reached into his pant’s pocket, pulling out a small bottle. She stared curiously as he shook out two peach colored tablets, his fingers overturning her hand to drop the pills on her palm. “It’ll help ease your pain.”
He let go of her hand, Allura pulling it towards her to stare curiously at the pills. “Okay…” She said, reaching for a glass of water to help her wash down the pills. Lotor watched her carefully, a secretive smile on his face. It made her looked questioningly at him, Lotor shaking his head no.
She sipped some more of the water, then reached for the plate once more. This time Lotor let her take it without interference, the man reaching for his own plate. The two piled on the food, both seeming to share similar ravenous appetites.
For a while the only sounds in the room were that of the silverware scraping against the porcelain plates, the two too busy eating to speak. As her stomach got her fill of the food, Allura began to slow down her pace, glancing at Lotor.
“Yes?” He said, noticing her look.
“Lotor…what will….what will happen with the Queen?” Her question made him frown, Lotor setting down his knife and fork.
“I honestly don’t know.” Came his admittance. “I suppose we’ll go to war.”
“War?” Her eyes widened, Allura gasping. “Because of me?”
“Not just because of you.” Lotor was quick to assure her. “My actions onboard her ship surely played their part as well. Allura, I killed her son.”
“Yes…for what he did to you.” Lotor agreed. “I think…I think there was no other way to play it out. The outcome set in stone the instant I saw him whipping you.” He sighed. “This is as much my father’s fault as it is anyone’s. Giving you away like that….”
“Why did he do that?” She asked, seeing him hesitate.
“He misunderstood the situation.” It seemed that was all he was willing to tell her, Lotor choosing to occupy his mouth with a peace of water fowl. Allura pushed at the food on her plate, thinking for a few seconds more.
“He won’t do that again will he?” She asked. “Give me away I mean?”
“No, Allura, he won’t.” Came Lotor’s answer.
“Why?” She shook her head. “How can you know that? Why is he not angry that you brought me back?”
“it’s complicated.” Lotor said. “Just be assured steps have been taking to appease my father and assure you’re safety.”
She sighed, wondering if the language barrier was what was making him hesitate to explain the situation to her. Things would be so much simpler if she had more skill with the Drule language! She made a promise to herself to work at it, to come to learn more words so as to better understand the things happening around her.
“Lotor….the doctors….They did a lot of tests. Why?” Another frown from him, Lotor slow to answer.
“Allura, you should rest now. You’ve had a long and hard day and need time to recuperate.”
She wanted to protest she wasn’t tired, but she felt the weariness in every bone in her body. Her eyes were practically drooping with sleep, her body no longer content to run on all cylinders now that she had filled her belly with food. “All right.” She agreed, setting down her knife and fork. Lotor mimicked her movements, rising to stand when she did. She flashed a surprised look at him, seeing him move to follow her to the bed.
“What? I’m tired too.” Lotor chuckled, and flopped down onto the bed. He stretched out on his back, his hand patting the empty space to the right of him. Allura got a knee up on the bed, and crawled towards him, choosing to lie on her stomach so as to take some of the strain off her injured back. He touched her carefully, his hand landing on her uninjured shoulder, pulling her close.
She ended up with her head on his chest, cheek pressed against his skin. She was surprised at how easily they fell back into old habits, her body having missed the warmth of his, this closeness of sleeping in his embrace. She snuggled closer, whispering out a question even as she slipped into sleep. “You’ll still be here when I wake up, won’t you?”
She smiled at his answer, Lotor giving an affirmative yes. It made her relax with a sigh, Allura drifting into dreamland with Lotor’s hand petting her hair.