It was all starting to make a horrid kind of sense, Allura listening to the sounds of her sobbing. Her hands muffled her cries, skin getting wet with her tears as she hid her face from Lotor. She was vaguely aware of him making soothing sounds, the man unable to hide his frustration at her weeping.
Pregnant! Just thinking the word made her cry harder, Allura feeling pain in her chest. She could hardly believe it, feeling stone cold shock at the confession Lotor had just made. A revelation that shone light on all that had happened, Allura now understanding the reason behind the tests the doctors had run.
“I’m such a fool.” She moaned, not aware she had voiced her thought out loud. Lotor chattered at her, Allura not even making the attempt to translate his words, feeling him touching her shoulders, trying to get her to look at him. She refused, keeping her hands in place, her voice rising in her anxiety, until she was shouting. “A fool! Such a fool!”
“Allura?!” Lotor was grabbing at her wrists, forcing her hands away from her face. She stared at him through a vision blurred with tears, absolutely miserable. All this time she had felt safe with him, had trusted and believed that he cared enough about her to come rushing to her rescue. But now she knew the truth. He didn’t care for her, she meant nothing to him beyond the sex. It was the BABY he was after. The baby he had rushed to save.
No wonder he had killed Morwin, no wonder he had gone to such lengths to retrieve her. She was carrying a child, his, the baby moving his cold heart where Allura could not.
She thought back to Pollux, thinking that must have been when they created the child. He had at her countless times, it was more than enough ample opportunity for him to get at her womb. It couldn’t have been a calculated move, the child created not out of love or desire, but that of a pure accident. An accident he hadn’t known about when he cast her aside for her cousin Romelle.
The more she thought, the more she wept, Allura realizing her collapse had to be tied in with the baby. Surely then under the doctor’s care, they had discovered her condition, alerting Lotor to the news. She just wondered if he knew before he had given her to Donovan. “You did give me away!” She accused, seeing his face take on a surprised look.
“You gave me to that monster Morwin! It was all you, not your father!” Lotor shook his head no, gasping out an answer.
“Allura no! I had nothing to do with that!”
She only cried harder, her hands lifting to wipe angrily at her eyes. Lotor let out a sigh, and pulled her from her seat, Allura landing on her knees before him. She screamed as his arms went to wrap around her, the girl beginning a fierce struggle that had her pushing at his chest. She couldn’t stand the touch of him comforting her, couldn’t stand for any more of his lies as he plastered her against his chest.
“Let go…” She said tersely, feeling Lotor tighten his arms around her.
A simple word, but it was a refusal that had her shrieking. Her hands formed fists, Allura bringing down to beat at his arms, trying to force him to release his hold on her. He grunted, but withstood her angry blows, cuddling her close against him. He let her beat at him until she grew tired from the motions, Allura left to tremble in his embrace, still weeping bitterly.
“I don’t understand.” Lotor said, and she let out a choked out sound. “Why are you reacting this way?”
“Lotor no want Allura!” She hissed out the words, carefully pronouncing the Drule language. “Lotor want baby!”
She tried again, thinking on how to say it. “Lotor no save Allura! Lotor save the baby!” She felt him relax his arms around her, Allura taking it as a sign his deceit was at an end. He knew she knew, so he would no longer pretend to care for her.
“Allura no!” His hands grabbed at her face, fingers planted firmly on her wet cheeks forcing her to look at him. His expression was serious, his golden eyes boring into hers with an intensity that had her taken aback. “I saved you! Not the baby! I came for you! YOU!!” He gave her a little shake, Allura trying to jerk free of his hands.
“No!” She denied, refusing to buy his lies.
“Yes!” Lotor insisted, voice a deep growl. “I…..there was no baby when I came to save you! I swear I did not know about it when I moved heaven and earth to come to your rescue!”
“Then why?!” She demanded, a hiccup escaping her. “Why would you come for me? Why would you care?”
“Why?” He hesitated, Allura sure he was thinking on a lie to say. “Because…I…I…love you!”
“Love?” She didn’t know this word, frowning at him.
“Love Allura.” He dropped his hands, reaching for her wrist. He brought it to his chest, holding her hand trapped over where his heart beat. “I love you. Lotor loves Allura!”
She gaped at him, eyes huge, the girl not even trying to pull back her hand. He couldn’t be telling her what she thought he was saying. There just was no way, the prince too cold and heartless to ever be moved by an emotion like love.
A knock sounded at the door, Lotor not acknowledging it, keeping his eyes on her face. “Yes.” He raised her hand to his face, lips kissing the palm of her hand. “Love Allura. It’s love…” Kisses on her fingertips, Lotor never breaking eye contact with her. “I didn’t want to tell you…I never wanted to tell you this. It endangers us all…if my father knew….” He seemed to shake, gearing up to finish his sentence. “What he’s done so far is only because he suspects I am infatuated with you…If he knew it was love, there would be no stopping him from trying to kill you.”
Her tears had stopped, Allura sniffling softly as she stared at him. “Zarkon would kill the one Lotor….loves?” He nodded, the knock sounding once more. She stared at him speechless, Lotor still holding her hand.
“Does Allura….LIKE Lotor?” He asked, sounding hopeful.
That have her pause, Allura looking away. She didn’t know how to answer him, still feeling so confused and conflicted. “I…” She began, but her words were drowned out by the insistent knocking, Lotor letting out an angry word. He let go of her and stood, leaving her kneeling on the floor by the table.
Allura watched as Lotor strode into the outer room, yanking open the door to growl angrily at the person on the other side of the door. The person, a woman by the sound of her voice began a profuse apology, Lotor curtly interrupting her.
The door closed, and she could hear his footsteps, Lotor stalking back into the room. She hurried to stand, grabbing onto the table for support. “I don’t know!” She said when he walked into the bedroom, the man pausing to look at her. “I don’t know what I feel. You killed Avok…!”
He didn’t like hearing that name, she could tell by the look on his face, his lips setting into a thin line to hide the glower that wanted to come out. “You killed Avok…” She whispered. “I should hate you. For that alone, never mind the other things you have done to me….” She could feel the tears wanting to start again, Allura shaking her head no as she went to cover her face.
Footsteps from his direction, the prince covering the distance within seconds, taking her back in his arms. He pressed her against his chest, Allura lowering her hands to peer through her lashes at him. “Lotor….really does love Allura?” Her voice came out small, almost childish sounding as she asked. He nodded, looking put out when a fresh wave of tears slipped down her face.
“Allura….” Just hearing her name on his lips, in that soft, gentle tone had her swooning, Lotor’s arms holding her up as she sagged. She was aware of him gathering her up in his arms, Lotor striding over to the bed to place her down on it’s soft mattress. He made a move to leave, and she lashed out with her arm, catching his wrist. He turned, a questioning look in his eyes.
“A baby…” She said the word hesitantly, bringing his hand to her stomach. She thought long and hard on her words, trying to convey her meaning to him in Drule. “You really came for me, and not just because I am pregnant with your child?”
“Yes, Allura. I came for you.” He assured her, hand frozen in place by her grip. “The baby was not a factor in my rescue of you…”
She was still so unsure! Now more than ever she wanted someone to talk to, someone she didn’t have to struggle to understand their words. “Lotor….can I see my friends?”
“Your friends?” He was perplexed.
“Sasperella and Sumetra…..” She named the twins, seeing Lotor recognized the names.
“Okay. In a little while. First you have to do something for me.”
“What?” Asked Allura, seeing Lotor reach to touch her face, wiping away her tears with the wrist of his shirt’s sleeve.
“Make that two things. The first being to stop crying!” She made that sound again, the half sob, half laugh and nodded. “Okay. The second being to allow the tailor to measure you for some clothing.”
“The tailor?” Yet another unfamiliar word, Lotor nodding.
“She’s just outside the door. I’ll tell her to hurry.” Lotor helped her to stand, and keeping his grip on her hand, led her out into the outer room. She watched curiously as he opened the door, revealing a handsome looking Drule woman, who smiled and let out a flurry of Drule words, sweeping past Lotor to come study Allura. The girl was led over to the center of the room, the woman’s hands reaching for the shirt, Allura frowning as she tried to pull it off her.
“It’s all right Allura.” Lotor said, laughing when she batted the woman’s hands away. “She’s not here to hurt you.”
She flashed him a doubting look, but allowed the woman to strip her, leaving Allura to stand beneath the lights clad only in her gauze bandages. The woman pulled out a measuring tape, and began winding it over Allura’s bust, murmuring to herself as she pulled it tight against her. She followed it up with her waist and her hips, pausing to write down the numbers on a small pad of paper.
Her arms were measured, as well as her legs, the woman taking care to note every inch of Allura’s body. Lotor circled around them, watching carefully and when the woman was done measuring Allura, began a conversation with her.
“We’ll be needing some dresses, something elegant but suitable for everyday life. As well as some gowns for when we are called to court.” Lotor said, the woman nodding.
“Yes, yes, I have some styles that would look absolutely lovely on her.” The tailor replied. “I think perhaps some blues would suit her best, something to bring out those amazing eyes of her, and to compliment your natural coloring.”
“Yes. Along with some purples.” Agreed Lotor. “I have in mind some form fitting waists for her dresses, but for now those will have to wait.” He gave a regretful sigh. “We need to think of maternity clothes for her. Something that won’t constrict around her waist but relax enough to allow room for her expanding belly.”
“Oh yes, I had heard rumors that you had gotten some girl pregnant.” The woman said. “But I hadn’t realized it was true!”
“It is.” Lotor gave a curt nod, Allura noticing the woman’s smile got even brighter.
“Then a wedding can’t be too far behind. That means she’ll need a dress for the occasion.” The woman’s eyes positively gleamed when Lotor nodded. “I think it should be soon…..before she starts to show…..wouldn’t you agree?”
“Hmm, yes the sooner the better.” He agreed. He bent to pick up the shirt, handing it to Allura. She quickly put it on, her eyes questioning as she looked back and forth between the conversing Drules. She was only catching some of the words, feeling woefully left out as they discussed clothing options for her. They began haggling over the finer details of her wardrobe, Lotor insisting on only the finest materials touching Allura’s skin. They didn’t even speak of price, money apparently being no object when it concerned her clothes.
Finally they reached an agreement, Lotor striding away towards the bedroom. The woman once again took out her note pad, jotting down figures, marking down the finer details of the things she had discussed with Lotor. Allura was all but ignored, the girl fidgeting in place, wondering if she could sit down when Lotor returned.
“Now, if that settles the matter…” He began, already ushering the tailor towards the door. The woman nodded her head vigorously, her eyes on the notepad, pen moving as she sketched something out. She nearly collided with Cossack, the commander standing on the other side of the door. A sharp word was exchanged between the two, the woman then turning to smile and curtsy to Prince Lotor.
Cossack waited until she had left to speak, voicing a whispered conversation with Lotor. The prince nodded his head, and stepped back, Cossack turning to bark an order out at someone behind him. Allura watched as two frightened females were ushered into the room, the identical faces wearing similar nervous expressions as they looked at the prince of Doom.
“Sumetra! Sasperella!” Allura exclaimed happily, the girls turning at the sound of her voice. They took on relieved expressions to see their princess, Sumetra taking a step towards her. Sasperlla was more cautious, glancing at Prince Lotor for permission. He gave a stiff nod of his head, watching as she hurried to join her sister in surrounding Allura.
The three embraced, Allura being hugged tight in turn by the twins. “Oh I missed you so much.” She said in Arusian, the girls also responding in their language.
“We missed you too!” Sumetra said. “We’ve been so concerned. First you collapsed, and then the rumors of your being given away….!”
“No rumor…” Allura sighed. “I’m afraid the King did do that very thing. But…Prince Lotor came to get me back!”
“Allura?” Lotor’s voice interrupting the reunion. “I need to go check on something. Will you be all right alone with them?” She nodded, her eyes surprised, never expecting to be granted the privacy to visit with the two girls. “Then I’ll see you later.”
Silence for a moment, the three watching as Lotor and Cossack left the room, the door locking behind them. The instant the men were gone, Sasperella turned and flashed wide eyes at Allura. “The prince rescued you?!”
“Yes. He saved me from an awful, awful man…”
“Worse than the prince?” Sumetra questioned, and Allura blushed.
“A million times worse.” She confirmed.
“You must tell us all that has happened.” Sasperella ordered. “The harem is a flurry of rumors. We don’t know what to believe, especially where it concerns you and the prince!”
“In truth I don’t know where to begin.” Confessed Allura, her hands going to her stomach in an absentminded motion. “After my collapse, I woke up in the hospital with the prince by my side….”
“And?” prodded Sasperella when Allura fell silent.
Allura shrugged, unable to tell them all that had transpired. She didn’t want to share the intimate moment she had had with Prince Lotor, of giving herself so completely to him. Nor did she want to worry them with news about the weapon that was poised to be used on Arus if Lotor did not find a way to stop it in time. “He was very concerned.”
“Well, obviously!” giggled Sumetra. “We heard from Nubeya that the prince rushed to your side…..abandoning your cousin to the dungeons in the process.”
‘The dungeons?” Allua asked, surprised.
“You did not know?”
She shook her head no. “This is the first I am hearing of this.”
“Romelle has not been seen since. It is rumored she displeased the prince mightily to have fallen so low.” Sasperella said. Allura made a sad face, feeling worry for her cousin, even after all that had transpired between them.
“If you have the prince’s ear…” Began the older twin, Sasperella watching Allura carefully. “You could beg forgiveness for her. He’d listen to you, I’m sure.”
“Perhaps. Though I fear he has other concerns than my cousin at the moment.” Again she touched her belly, and Sasperella frowned.
“You keep doing that. Caressing your belly. Why?”
“Eh?” Allura blinked, glancing downwards. “Oh….I…” She turned her back on them, hiding her embarrassed face.
“Allura, what is it?” asked Sumetra.
“I don’t know how to tell you this….”
“You can tell us, we’ll understand.” Sasperella said, Sumetra echoing her sentiment.
“I….the prince….that is we…are going to have a baby.” Allura said, bracing herself for the shout that followed her announcement.
She cautiously turned, seeing the stunned looks on the twin’s faces, Sumetra’s jaw having dropped open in shock. She nodded hesitantly, the girls still gaping at her. “It’s all such a mess.” Allura confided. “I don’t even know what he really feels for me…if I can believe in what he tells me….” She sighed, and began pacing, her movements agitated. “Is he just using me as a brood mare? Will he toss me aside once the nine months are up and the baby is delivered?”
“Princess…” Sasperella had found her voice, Allura pausing to look at her. “I do not know what the prince feels for you, or what his intentions for you are. But….a baby is a serious matter. It had to be a deliberate move on his part to get you with child.”
“What do you mean?” Allura frowned, the girl continuing.
“The birth control shots they give us are very effective. There’s never been an accident in the prince’s harem. If you are pregnant with his child, then he had to have taken you off the shots in order to get you to this state.”
“You mean…” Sumetra picked up where Sasperella left off. “He wanted Allura to be the one to carry his child?”
“Yes.” Nodded the older twin, causing Allura to just stand there and stare. She felt her eyes blinking rapidly, the hint of tears coming to them.
“Lotor….wanted me to be the one to have his child….?” She said it with wonder, feeling the tears start to slink down her cheeks. The two sisters immediately surrounded her, their arms wrapping around her in an awkward hug. She gave in to the comfort of their embrace, her body’s sag dragging them all to the floor in a crumpled heap. “My child isn’t a mistake…!?”
The sisters nodded and made affirmative sounds, Allura sniffling, feeling a tension ease out of her body. Her child wasn’t a mistake, it was wanted! And more than that, if what the twins said could be believed, Lotor had wanted her to be the one to carry it for him. Her hand landed on her belly, Allura caressing it with wonder in her eyes. It made her feel hope, the hope that all the things Lotor had told her really was true.