The hall leading down to his chambers was nearly empty save for the two guards who walked up and down the length of it. They slowed to a stop at the sight of their prince, offering quick bows which Lotor all but ignored. His thoughts were already inside his bedroom, of the girl who waited for him, and all that he would have to tell her. He wondered if she’d smile, if Allura would be so overcome by the news of Arus being saved, of the fabled lions being found, that she would be moved by her emotions. He hoped she didn’t cry, Lotor not sure he could handle her tears even if they were born of happiness.
Risk of tears aside, Lotor found he couldn’t wait to tell her, the prince stepping quicker towards his door. He caught his reflection on the metal, seeing his hair swept back to reveal his neck, the jagged cut looking stark red against the blue of his skin. He frowned, hand reaching to the back of his head, fingers snapping the rubber band that held his hair tied back in a ponytail. The white strands flowed downwards the instant they were free, settling down his back and across shoulders once more. It didn’t hide the wound completely, but it distracted from it, the soft ends of his hair brushing against his skin.
He looked away from his reflection, punching in his code into the door’s console. It unlocked with an audible click, Lotor stepping inside the outer room of his chambers. A strong smell of perfume was in the air, various bouquets of flowers sitting in vases. They added a touch of color to the room, seeming to brighten up the place, make it less masculine. Lotor frowned at the change, tolerating the colorful flowers only because he had learned Allura had an interest in the plants. They seemed to make her happy, something Lotor had yet to learn how to achieve a perfect success rate of.
He looked away from the flowers, seeing her laying on the bed, a book propped up on her stomach. Some sort of fantasy no doubt, Lotor having imported several popular novels from her home world of Arus. It gave her something to do, to help her pass the time when he couldn’t be at her side.
He walked through the doorway, stepping silent on the carpet, his intention to reach the closet before she took notice of him. He didn’t want her to see the wound on his throat, didn’t want to cause her needless worry. But it was not to be, she lifted her head, her eyes immediately seeking out his, cornering him halfway to the closet.
“Lotor.” She said his name happily enough, setting the book down besides her. She went to sit up, her eyes studying him. They lingered on his bare chest, Lotor wondering if she was admiring the view and the way his trousers hung low on his hips. Ordinarily such a look in her eyes would be enough to have Lotor all over her, but now he was trying to hide his neck from her notice.
“Allura.” He answered, resuming his walk. “Enjoying your book?”
“Oh yes.” She said, but she frowned as he went to walk past the bed, not reaching out to touch her in greeting as was his typical fashion. “Lotor….did something happen?”
“What makes you ask that?” He said, pausing when she reached out with her hands to snag hold of his right arm.
She hesitated, long enough for Lotor to think she wasn’t going to pursue the subject. “You usually…kiss me on returning.” She shrugged then, trying to tug him to her. “Or you touch my hair….or my cheek….you do something…”
He held back a sigh, and turned in the direction of her pull, Allura glancing up at him. He saw the gasp form on her lips, the girl’s eyes widening as she took in the sight of his neck. “You’re hurt…”
“It’s only a minor surface wound.” Lotor assured her.
“But it bled…” She pointed out, surely looking at the hint of blood that stained the skin around the cut.
“And now it’s stopped.” He bent over her, his shadow casting her in darkness. “See?” Lotor caught at Allura’s hands, bringing them to his neck, holding them in place. He felt her move her fingers, gently tracing the line that stretched across his throat.
“What happened?” Allura wanted to know, then quickly followed up with an order. “Don’t lie to me and say it was nothing!”
“But it was. We had a man get too ambitious for his own good.” Lotor saw her frown at his words. “This is the Queen’s doing.”
“Merla…” She whispered the name, her tone quite fearful as she stared at his throat.
“Yes…She sent an assassin to do me in on my morning exercises.” Lotor let go of her hands, Allura keeping them hovering over his wound. “It’s official now. We’re at war.”
“Will you go to fight her?” Allura asked, looking up into his face. Lotor touched his hand to her cheek, and offered her a smile.
“No not yet. But perhaps soon, if my father allows it.” He sighed then. “I’m still grounded from battle. Forced to stay behind and let others do the work for me.”
“It’s selfish of me, but I am glad.” Allura told him. “There’s less risk to you that way. I….” She shook her head, blond curls bouncing around her face. “The baby needs it’s father to be around while it grows up.”
“The baby also needs it’s mother to love it.” Lotor pointed out, and she nodded in agreement, his fingers caressing her cheek at the movement. “You will be the perfect mother to our child.”
“Maybe.” She said it doubtfully, looking down at her still flat belly.
“I know so.” Lotor said. Indeed he felt confidant that her ability to love would nurture the child far better than anything Lotor could hope to do for his heir. It wouldn’t grow up with the lessons Zarkon had imparted on Lotor, it would learn to love and be loved in return, and to value family. Allura would bring balance to Lotor’s hard edge, the child growing with the advantages of having two parents who cared for it’s future.
“You’ll start visiting Haggar on a weekly basis.” Lotor said, straightening before her. He dropped his hand to his side, Allura glancing up at him once more.
“All right.” She agreed, and Lotor thought he saw the hint of excitement in her eyes. She was looking forward to meeting with the witch, surely glad of something else to do besides lounge around the rooms that composed of his private chambers.
“I’ll assign a guard, most likely Cossack to you for those times.” Now he move unimpeded to the closet, throwing open the doors. He began brushing aside garments, looking for a shirt. “You will be well protected between the guard and the wi—nursemaid.” He quickly amended, not wanting Allura to catch on to Haggar’s true nature. She made sounds of agreement, Lotor’s hand landing on a dark gray shirt.
“Lotor…where will the baby sleep?” Her question took him by surprise, Lotor turning to look at her. She seemed to fidget with her fingers, looking down at her lap. “I mean…..I would like to keep the baby close by for when he or she cries….”
“But that is what we have servants for.” Lotor said, pulling on his shirt. He saw her frown, Allura shaking her head no.
“I don’t want servants to do all the raising.” She bit her lip, seeming to work up the nerve for her next question. “Would it not be better to keep a crib in the corner of the bedroom….at least until the child is older?”
He glanced around the spacious bedroom, trying to imagine a wailing baby curled up in a crib, it’s cries disrupting his sleep. “Do we have to decide this now?”
“I guess not.” Allura sighed, and placed a hand on her belly. “It’s still months before the little one will be born.” She looked so dejected, Lotor approached her, his shirt forgotten, it’s open front flapping as he moved.
“Allura, I have some news that is sure to bring a smile to your face.” She looked up at him, eyes curious. He gave her an encouraging smile, his hands reaching for hers. His fingers closed around her hands, Lotor pulling her to her feet. “My father has finally agreed to spare Arus.”
“Really?!” Her eyes shone with hope, the emotion leaking into her voice.
“Yes.” Lotor said, and began leading her over to his private computer. “And not just temporarily. Arus has been saved from becoming his testing ground, your people will continue to live life as they know it albeit as slaves of Doom.”
“Yes…” She reached up to touch the slave collar around her neck, fingers grazing the bejeweled band. He pretended not to notice, moving to sit down before the computer’s keyboard. Allura watched quietly as Lotor turned on his computer, hearing the beeps and hums of it’s start up programming booting up. It took only a few seconds for his desk top to appear, various icons strewn across the screen.
“Are you not curious as to why he agreed to spare your former planet?” Lotor asked, glancing at the girl standing by his side.
“Truthfully I am just grateful that this has happened.” Allura admitted. “It matters little to me the how and why.”
“Ah but I think you will want to know this.” Lotor began typing, his fingers inputting the access details to the computer in his office. The screen seemed to flicker, then change, Lotor seeing several new icons become accessible to him. “Do you remember when I asked you about Arus?”
“Yes. I told you about the legend of Voltron.” Allura glanced at him curiously.
“It was a story that intrigued me greatly. So great…” He was maneuvering the mouse over to one of the icons, the Drule words reading Arus Lion Project. “I had my men do further investigations of the tale. And do you know what they found?”
“Nothing.” Allura was adamant, shaking her head no. “It’s just a story. Something grandparents pass down to the children at bedtime.”
“Ah, but have you not wondered why such a story has endured all these ages? Why the people aren’t so quick to forget?” Lotor asked, glancing at her.
“Because my people want to believe…” She said, then frowned. “They need to believe in something…something that lifts us above our mundane surroundings. Much like the Earthlings and their creations myths.”
“You know of Earth and their beliefs?” Lotor was surprised.
“Some.” She admitted. “It’s no less fantastic then what my people pin their beliefs on.”
“Ah, but here’s where the two differ. I don’t know what the Earthlings believe, and frankly I don’t care.” Lotor said, giving an uncaring shrug of his shoulders. “I can’t even offer you proof that what they say is true. But….Arus on the other hand…” He double clicked the mouse, the icon expanding to fill with several videos of yellow lion in action. “I can without a doubt prove the Voltron legend does exist.”
“No.” Allura gasped, her hands flying to her face to cover her gaping mouth. Her eyes were wide, and she stared at the screen, eyes flickering from image to image as though she couldn’t settle on which one to look at first. “This cannot be real…..Is that a lion?”
“Oh it’s real.” Lotor assured her, watching her with a smile on his face. “And yes, it’s yellow lion. My men found it when flying over a near endless desert. A green lion has also been found, though I’m afraid I don’t have much data on it yet. That one was found in Blue Mist Forest.”
Allura took a step closer to the computer screen, hands still in place over her mouth. Suddenly she shook her head, and turned to face him. Her eyes flashed with emotion, a kind of nervous anger that had him taking aback. “This is a lie! This cannot be real! You seek to make fun of me!”
“Allura no!” It was Lotor’s turn to stare, shock in his eyes at her words. “It’s all real. It’s the truth. When this war is over and Zarkon has lifted the ban from our taking flight, I will take you to Arus so you can see the lions with your own eyes. That you can touch and feel that they are real.”
“Real?” She gasped, lowering her hands to reveal her trembling lips. “This is really the truth? The lions do exist?” He nodded, and she seemed to wilt, dropping to the floor before he could even think to catch her. Allura ended up on her knees, her hands pressed palm down on the carpet, a sob escaping her. “All this time! All this time wasted…if we had just believed….maybe….maybe things could have been different!”
He was moving too, getting out of his chair to kneel down at her side. Lotor said nothing, just reaching around to hug her as Allura murmured things to herself. “If we had had the lions, none of this would have happened. My father would still be alive, my planet wouldn’t be enslaved…Pollux would have never fallen….!”
“Don’t!” Lotor said, grasping her by the arms and forcing her to look at him. “Don’t torture yourself with what ifs. What’s done is done. You can’t change that. You’ll go mad if you think about it too much.”
“But…” She looked like she was going to cry. “So many people died. So many continue to still do so…” She suddenly shuddered, and tried to pull away from him. “And even more will fall. What does your father intend to do with the lions? How many more people will he make suffer by using Arus’ symbol of peace?!”
“It was the only way to save your Arus from total devastation.” Lotor retorted. “My father didn’t give a damn about that planet. He still doesn’t! If it wasn’t for the lions, your people would already be dead. Dead of mutated into some twisted shell of their former selves. The lions work their magic yet, they’ve saved Arus once again.”
“But at what cost?” She demanded, bowing her head so as to hide the tears that were escaping her eyes. “I would not have asked you to do this if I had known that monster would get his hands on the lions.”
“It’s just another weapon to him.” Lotor said. “I’m sure once the novelty wears off, he will turn his attention elsewhere. The lions needs not be responsible for too much misery….”
“Even one planet enslaved by them is more than I can bear.” Allura told him, sounding like her heart was breaking.
“You are stronger than that.” Lotor said. “I have seen your strength myself. You are unbreakable, and just as you endured everything I threw at you, this too you will survive.”
“Even the toughest glass eventually shatters.” Allura sighed.
“Damn it, it wasn’t supposed to be like this.” Lotor said, and rose to stand, leaving her kneeling at his feet. She looked up at him, tears glistening on her cheeks, her lips parting to ask him a question.
“What was it supposed to be like?” Her voice was soft, no accusation in it’s tone.
“You were supposed to be happy!” Lotor said, and now he ran an anxious hand through his hair, sweeping it back from his face. “You were supposed to be overjoyed. Grateful! Ecstatic! Pick one!” She flinched at the anger in his voice, Allura just looking at him sadly. He let out a growl, hand gesturing angrily. “It was supposed to be the perfect moment for us.”
“Perfect moment?” She echoed, a frown on her face.
“Yes!” He was tempted to drop back down to his knees, but he fought against that urge. Instead he stood over her, eyes frustrated as he came close to shouting. “The time to put aside our past problems, and forge ahead with our future. Together.”
“Our future?” She looked blank, repeating his words.
“Yes.” Now he sighed, the sound heavy and seeming to steal his energy. “Allura, I was waiting to tell you this. Waiting until the right moment, until I had fulfilled my promise to you.”
“Tell me what?’ Allura sounded apprehensive, staring up at him with her blue eyes impossibly wide.
“You weren’t supposed to be crying when I gave you the news.” Lotor told her, and then did an angry shrug of his shoulders. “We’re going to get married.” He watched her blink, eyelids fluttering rapidly, her mouth dropping open in an o of shock. “I think a ceremony while you have yet to start showing would be best. The tailor is already working on your gown.”
Allura closed her mouth, then opened it once more. No sound came from her, she seemed stunned speechless. Lotor paused a beat, just waiting for a reaction other than her shocked silence. Finally it came, Allura shaking her head no.
“No?” Lotor couldn’t help it, he felt his lips curl back in a sneer. “What do you mean no?”
“I can’t marry you!” Allura protested, and Lotor snorted.
“I don’t recall giving you a choice.”
Her eyes watered, but she fixed him with her best glare. “Of course.” Her tone was bitter. “I shouldn’t have expected to have a say in the matter. I’m just a slave to you.”
“You know you mean more to me than that.” Lotor told her. She continued to narrow her eyes at him, shoulders seeming to shake with her efforts to suppress her emotion. “You do!”
“If you I did, you would ask me how I feel about this. Ask me the right way for my hand, not just decide I will marry you!”
“Damn it Allura, you are carrying my child. Of course you’re going to marry me. Make no doubt about it!” Lotor snapped.
“So that’s it then. You command and I must follow.” She looked away from him, hands forming fists on her lap.
“I thought you’d be happy about this.” A frustrated Lotor said.
“How can I be? From where I sit, slave, wife, it’s all the same. Nothing changes….you don’t change.” Allura said, the emotion draining out of her tone. He frowned down at her, annoyance eating away from him.
He heard a sound, a soft growl that took him a moment to realize it was coming from his throat. Allura looked up at the sound, eyes nervous now and Lotor bent over her, grabbing her by the arms. He drew her up to stand before him, Lotor trying to control his voice as he spoke. “You think I haven’t changed?!” She said nothing, just looked at him, his annoyance increasing.
He pulled on her arms, Allura fighting against his strength. But bit by bit she went into his embrace, ending up plastered against his chest. “Do you know what I would have done to you once upon a time for your refusal?”
Her eyes widened, but no sound came out of her mouth. Lotor suddenly bent down to kiss her, lips rough as they mashed against hers, Lotor using brute force rather than seductive guile to get her to open her mouth to him. She yielded with a muffled cry, Lotor thrusting his tongue into her mouth.
As he kissed her he felt her squirming, Allura’s hands on his chest, trying to push him away. He wouldn’t let her, backing her up against the computer console, hearing the keys let out a protesting sound as her rear bumped against them. She had nowhere to go, trapped between him and the computer, Allura making fitful sounds as she fought against him.
“Once……ah once….” Lotor’s right hand lifted, catching at her hair, pulling it hard enough that her head fell back. He hissed into her ear, tongue snaking out to lick the inside of it. “I would have enjoyed punishing you. I would have relished your sounds of defiance, the misery and the cries.” His left hand was on her hip, starting a slow ascent up her side, his aim her chest.
“Perhaps a part of me still does.” Lotor said, his knee nudging between her legs, forcing them to spread so he could fit his body between her thighs. He pressed the part of him that spoke to her body, already growing hard with need. He heard her gasp as he ground it against her, Allura’s movements becoming more fitful as she shoved at him.
“But….to my ever growing shame…” He nipped at her neck, just above her collar. “I find other parts of me overruling those urges. Do you know why?” Her pulse beat frantically at his lips, Allura shaking against him.
“No, why!?” She cried out at his silence, distracting him from the fearful rhythm of her heart.
“Because you changed me.” Lotor growled into her skin. “Made me become something I am not, something I was never meant to be. My father sees it, so does many of the others. They question it as a kind of madness, and maybe they are right. All I know is I love you….and that love keeps me from wanting to hurt you!”
With that he shoved away from her, Allura slumping against the keyboard, eyes wide and wary. Lotor stumbled backwards, breathing heavily, eyes half lidded as he stared at her. “Once I wouldn’t have hesitated to rape you. And when I was through making my point, I’d drag you down the aisle and force you another way.” He made a scoffing sound. “If you can’t see how I’ve changed, then you are a blind fool.”
She was breathing no less heavily then he, tired out from that brief struggle against his overwhelming strength. He kept his eyes on her face, trying to ignore the tempting sight of her quivering breasts as her chest heaved with her pants. It would only provide a temptation, one he feared he’d give in to if he stayed in this room with her any longer.
“Once you said you’d do anything to save Arus.” He started to turn away from her, desperate to look at anything other than she. “That you’d degrade yourself, debase yourself, let me humiliate you in anyway. Well, I seek not to do any of those things, but to make an honest woman out of you. Can marriage to me really be any worse than what you imagined doing to save your former homeland?”
He moved, walking away from her, forcing himself not to look back even when he heard the sound of her falling to the floor. He strode into the outer room, and out into the hall, and only then did he let out the angry breath he was holding, Lotor leaning against the door. The guards took one look at him, and wisely kept silent, hurrying down towards the other end of the hall and well away from their prince.
“Perfect.” He muttered out loud, a bitter smile on his lips. “Just perfect.” He made a fist, and slammed it into the metal, another growl escaping him. “I really am a fool for love.” Saying the words out loud didn’t make him feel any better, Lotor glaring at the ceiling as he thought back on the encounter with Allura. He couldn’t believe she didn’t see how being his wife would be much better than being his slave, the girl equating them to be the same thing.
~She doesn’t want me….~ Lotor thought. ~She never did. She only wanted to save her planet.~ He lifted his head to his chest, placing it over where his heart beat underneath the skin. There was a pain there, an unfamiliar one that sent Lotor staggering away from the door. He was left wondering if this is what it felt like to have your heart break piece by piece.