The lion danced across the computer screen, it’s movements holding a natural grace one wouldn’t have thought possible for something made of metal. Let alone something as bulky as a ship capable of space travel. And yet the proof was right in front of her, the lion a sleek design of yellow and white metal, it’s tail lashing about as though it had a mind of it’s own.
She kept looking from picture to picture, unable to make up her mind on where to rest her eyes the longest. One minute Allura was watching the lion run, the next she was seeing it soar through the sky. And then the next she saw it in battle, it’s claws tearing through metal like it was paper, it’s strong jaws biting metal in half with just a slight snapping of it’s teeth.
Allura sighed, sitting huddled in the computer chair, her body much smaller than what the seat was used to holding. She could feel the imprint Lotor’s body had worn into the chair, leaving her to wonder how many late nights he had spent in front of his computer, working away at some secret project. The chair even retained his personal scent, a smell of exotic after shave and spice, making her feel as though Lotor’s presence still lingered in the room.
Was it possible for someone still living to haunt a place with his or her memories? She felt that could very much be the case, everywhere she looked Allura was reminded of Prince Lotor, the girl imagining seeing him standing by the bar, a drink in his hand. Or in front of the closet, holding up dresses for her approval. It was worse when she looked at the bed, a heated blush coming to her face as she recalled the things he made her do while laying on it’s soft mattress.
He was everywhere in the room, she couldn’t escape thoughts of him, Allura hugging her knees to her chest as she stared at the lion. Even this wonder of Arus bore his mark, the fable brought to life by Lotor’s hand, the prince accomplishing something her people had never been able to do. Prove that the lions were real. She sighed, letting herself be reluctantly impressed with the feat.
But she couldn’t, wouldn’t take comfort from seeing the lion. Not when she knew what it would be used for. What Lotor and his father, the demon would do with it and it’s four counterparts.
She wished she had held onto her sense of belief, the sense of wonder that all children had upon hearing about the lions and the legend of Voltron. If the children had retained their faith upon reaching adulthood, maybe an Arusian scholar would have discovered the lions first. She knew things would have been drastically different in her life if the lions had been part of her world. She was confidant of that, sure they would have held off Doom’s invasion, and her people would never have been enslaved.
But….and this was a traitorous thought that whispered in her mind. She knew she would have never met Lotor if that was the case. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that, but one thing she did know had her placing her hand on her stomach. If Arus had had the lions for defense, this child she carried, this small precious life would never have had a chance to be conceived. And that pained her, Allura already having grown attached to the baby she carried.
She felt frustrated tears welling up in her eyes, Allura biting her lip to use pain to chase them away. She didn’t want to cry anymore, she had had her fill of weeping since Lotor had made his hasty exit from the room. He had left with no word on when he would be back, no clue as to what would happen on his return. Allura feared he’d still be angry, and she worried what he would do.
She wasn’t completely sure he would keep his word about being unable to harm her, Allura doubting his so called love was capable of stopping him when he was caught in the midst of a full blown rage. She supposed he had a right to be angry, she had after all rejected him, turning her nose up at the thought of marrying him. But he hadn’t even asked her opinion, just assumed she would go through with it!
It just made her all too aware of the differences in their stations, Allura a princess no more, but a slave with no say nor choice in the matter. She had been lucky these past few weeks, Lotor showing kindness to her. But then she had never tried to say no to him, always quick to agree with his suggestions and amorous moods. The first time she had expressed an opinion that differed from his, and he had lost it, growing angry and volatile, manhandling her up against the computer’s keyboard.
Allura reached up to touch the hated collar around her neck, fingers grazing along the jewels that were embedded in the ornate metal. Try as she might, she could not find a catch to it, the blasted thing was melded shut around her neck. It was meant to be a permanent reminder that she was just property, a slave though pampered and adored was still just an item that had no say in their fate.
It left her wondering why Lotor even wished to marry her, why he would want to tie her to him through the bonds of marriage. Did it all come down to love, or to something more? Did he care for her like he said, or was it just the baby he wished to elevate from bastard status? She wondered about her baby, wondered and worried what kind of life it would have, with the demon Zarkon as an influence in it’s life. She had her doubts about Lotor’s too, not sure he would be the best role model or father a child could have.
But what other options did the child have? What kid of life would it have to be born into the harem? To be born as a the son of a slave, rather than the son of the prince. Would Lotor cast her and the child aside for her refusal to marry him? She just didn’t know, and that left her all the more troubled.
“I shouldn’t have reacted so hastily.” Allura said out loud, voice whisper soft. “I should have pretended to at least be agreeable to the idea of marriage. Maybe then I could have talked him down from the idea, or at least gotten him to wait a bit longer on holding the ceremony.”
She sighed, eyes staring at the computer monitor, but they barely noticed the action on the screen. She wondered at Lotor’s promises, of his talk of taking her back to Arus to see the lions up close. She supposed she had blown her chances at that, Allura sure Lotor would never let her leave Doom now.
She felt the beginning of tears, the thought of never seeing her home again upsetting her in a way it had not for months now. It was though she had grown to accept it, and just as she had, Lotor had reopened the wound, rubbing salt in it with his promise to take her back. Allura made an angry sound, and rubbed the back of her hand against her eyes, trying to wipe the tears away before they could fall.
She was still doing that angry motion when she heard the door to the outer chamber open, Allura stiffening in apprehension. No voice called out to her, no joyful greeting or angry snarl, Lotor silent as he moved around the outer chamber. She stayed huddled on the computer chair, not daring to make a sound, just listening for any noise to clue her in to what he was doing.
She heard drawers open and close, Lotor slamming them forcefully, Allura cringing at the sound. She heard a sharp exhalation from him, the prince letting out a soft curse, the banging growing more hurried in sound. She was frozen in place, curious but unable to move, just listening to his agitated actions.
At last the sounds fell quiet, Allura holding her breath. The silence seemed to stretch on for a full minute, and then there was the sound of walking. The footsteps approached the bedroom door, Lotor stepping through the archway. She caught sight of him, seeing he had taken care to button up his shirt since last she had seen him, but his feet were still as bare as ever. He held something in his hand, but it was hidden by his leg, Allura unable to make out what it was.
Their eyes met, and for a second they both just stared, neither speaking. Allura was the first to look away, lowering her head to stare at her knees.
“Come here.” Lotor’s voice, a sharp command that crackled in the air. She flinched from the intensity of his voice, but did not move, did not so much as look in his direction. “Allura, I said come here.”
She couldn’t speak, Allura just shaking her head no. She heard him sigh, the sound annoyed, and then he was moving towards her, Allura tracking him out the corner of her eye. He reached her spot by the computer in seconds, reaching out with his hand to snag an unresisting wrist.
“COME!” He growled, and jerked on her arm, hard enough that it hurt, Allura biting her lip as a whimper escaped her. Slowly she lowered her legs to the ground, letting him pull her up to a standing position.
She wanted to ask where he was taking her, Lotor leading her away from the computer. But a few short steps forward had her seeing his goal, the man leading her towards the bed. She came to a halt, shaking her head once more, not looking at him as he pulled on her hand. It forced her to move, Allura stumbling forward, Lotor doing nothing to catch her.
She let out a cry when he swung her against the bed, Allura’s body bouncing in place on the mattress. She immediately sat up, and began crawling backwards, inching all the way to the bed’s headboard. She still couldn’t make out what he was holding, and she feared the worse, Allura staring at Lotor as he got a knee up on the bed.
“Don’t run from me.” He ordered, voice no less harsh. Lotor tried to soften his features, but his tone was no less gruff. “I give you my word I have no intent to harm you this day.”
“There are many ways to harm a person without trying.” Allura whispered, having found her voice at last.
“Fine…I can’t promise I won’t inadvertently harm you with my words and actions, but know this. I do not set out to purposefully harm you today.”
Ill at ease, she spoke. “You keep saying today……what of tomorrow? And the day after?”
His eyes turned moody, Lotor continuing in that stern tone of voice. “I am no prophet. I don’t know what the future holds, least of all where you are concerned.”
“That is hardly reassuring.” Allura pointed out.
“It wasn’t meant to be.” Lotor said, then pointed with his unoccupied hand. “Now come here.” He was gesturing at the spot before him on the bed, Allura still hesitating.
“You promise not to hurt me?” She asked, and he nodded. She stared at him a minute longer, Allura seeing the impatience grow on Lotor’s face. Finally she sighed, and lowered her eyes, hardly daring to believe she was going near him when he was in such a foul mood.
His eyes on her, intense and unreadable, Lotor watched as Allura crawled towards him. She couldn’t keep her trembles under check, stopping before him so that she sat with her hands on her knees, lowering her eyes to hide from his piercing stare.
“That’s better.” Lotor said, and suddenly was moving, his hands going around her to reach behind her neck. She stared at his chest, picking up the darker gray threads that sewed intricate designs into the silk. Lotor’s hands were sweeping her hair forward, leaving her back bare. He moved, pressing his face to the side of hers, and hissed out an urgent command. “Don’t move.”
She obeyed, too nervous to even shiver at his whisper, feeling him touching the back of her collar. But not with his fingers, but with whatever that strange object was. It seemed to clamp on the top and bottom of the back of her collar, Lotor’s arms tensing up a moment before she heard a loud sound. She blinked shocked, feeling the collar loosen it’s tight hold on her neck, splitting open in half to topple forward into her hands. She stared down at the expensive piece of metal, fingers spread around it’s cool surface, stunned.
Lotor pulled back from her, and now she realized the object he held was some kind of cutting device, strong enough to tear metal in half. Allura lifted her eyes, staring at him in surprise, Lotor’s expression still unreadable to her.
“What…” She had to pause, licking her lips nervously as she tried to compose herself. “What does this mean?”
“You are free now.” Lotor said, and his knees were touching hers, the two kneeling on the bed as they faced one another.
“Free?” She questioned, Allura hardly believing him.
“You are slave no more.” Lotor told her. “I release you from your bondage.”
“But….I…” But she what? Isn’t that what she had always wanted? To escape the hated collar, to be her own person once more. “I don’t understand.” She said at last, staring searchingly at his face.
“You want the destiny to choose, don’t you?” Lotor demanded. “To do as you please and not be commanded? Well, I am giving you that choice!”
“It’s a trick.” Allura said, her hands still limp on her lap, the cold metal feeling as though it was freezing her skin. “You don’t mean it…”
“Don’t you dare say that!” Lotor snapped, angry. “Don’t make a mockery of my gesture! I’ve never freed a slave before, I’ve never even considered it before you. I doubt I will ever do it again.”
“You still don’t know?” His hand started to move, as though he wanted to touch her. He made a fist instead, fingers tightly curled and hanging limp by his side. “It’s the only way I know to prove my love to you. The only way I can show you that I honestly care about you!!”
“But….I have nowhere to go….my kingdom is gone…it is a useless gesture.” Allura said, looking down at her lap.
“Damn it Allura! You don’t need Arus. I’ll send you to one of the many planets in the Doom Empire. Set you up as a noblewoman, you’ll want for nothing and be free. Just….stay with me these nine months….stay with me to give me the child, our child.”
“I…I couldn’t give up my child…” She said troubled.
“You may not have to.” Lotor replied. “I mean to court you properly during your pregnancy. If I can’t convince you to want to be me with my of your own free will, I’ll give you up. I’ll never darken your doorway again.”
She lifted her eyes, staring at him, trying to read the truth in his eyes. Her own blue ones widened, Allura breathing out a response. “You really do mean that, don’t you?”
“I swear it. On my heart and on my throne.” Lotor held his fist over his heart now, golden eyes locked onto hers. She felt her eyes welling up with tears, and Lotor frowned. “Don’t cry Allura….I do this to make you happy not sad…”
She shook her head, feeling the tears flow faster. “I can’t stop them.” Lotor leaned forward, raising his hand to her face. It hovered hesitantly over her cheek, and then he was touching her. His grip was gentle, Lotor holding her in place as he brought his mouth just under her eye. He kissed her, tasting her tears, tongue lapping gently at the wet stain that worked it’s way down her cheek.
His tongue was rough against her skin, tickling her. It distracted her from the tears, Allura blinking rapidly as she stared at the nearness of his face. One last lick of his tongue, and then he pulled back, looking satisfied at having stopped her tears.
“What do we do now?” She whispered, Lotor’s thumb brushing her bottom lip as she spoke.
“Now?” Lotor echoed, and she nodded. “It’s up to you where we go from here.”
“Me?” Her eyes widened, Allura not sure what to say. For so long the choice had been taken from her, she wasn’t sure she was up to the task of deciding for herself, let alone the both of them. “Lotor…..what…..what do couples do on Doom?”
“You mean besides sex?” She was relieved to hear the note of teasing in his voice, the prince’s lips quirking slightly upwards. “Hmm….does this mean you want me to take you out on a date?”
She felt foolish for even bringing up such a notion, seeing how amused Lotor looked. Embarrassed, she shook her head, a no forming on her lips. “No, I was just curious…”
“Good because I don’t date.” He said the word as though it was a foreign concept to him, hand lifting up to sweep back his hair away from his face. “You’ll find there is little similarity between you humans and Drules when it comes to romance.”
“I don’t doubt that.” Allura said, holding back a sigh. She knew from experience that Lotor’s actions towards her had born little romance to them, holding more anger and abuse than tenderness and love.
“It’s different here on Doom. We don’t…” Lotor seemed to hesitate, Allura waiting for him to finish his sentence. He shrugged instead, hand making a dismissive gesture.
It worried at her, Allura’s mind trying to fill in the blanks of what he was going to say. Lotor appeared in no hurry to fill the silence that had opened up between them, Allura fidgeting under the intensity of his stare. Her nervous movements only made his smile widen, Allura finding his hands on her shoulders as though to still her.
“Lotor..” She began, feeling his thumbs caress her shoulders. “This war with the Queen…can you really end it in nine months time?”
His eyes showed his surprise for an instant, the gold being covered by drooping eye lids as he gave his answer, voice careful not to betray him. “Fear not Allura. I’ll be sure to hide you away some place where even the Queen’s grasp cannot extend to. She will not be using you to get her revenge.”
“Of course….” He was quick to add, no sign of emotion in his voice. “That’s only IF you choose to leave me at the end of our little wager. I don’t intend to make it an easy decision for you Allura.” Now he seemed to be warning her, Lotor’s fingers tightening on her shoulders. “I will use everything at my disposal, no tactic too sly and underhanded to win your heart.”
His words made her frown, Allura staring at him in consternation. “You seem so confidant of that. But I don’t see how you can be…not after all that’s happened between us.” She shook her head, blond hair falling forward to brush against her face. “You’ve got a war to win, battles to plan, I don’t see how you can devote much time to wooing me.”
“I can do both, I assure you.” Lotor said. “My father may not like it, but with my being grounded on Doom, there is little for me to do besides send and receive reports.” His hands fell away from her, Lotor plucking one half of the broken collar from her lap. “I’m sure he’ll be furious over this..” She followed his glance to the broken collar, Lotor letting out a sigh before continuing. “Just another proof of my descent into madness as far as he is concerned.” A smirk then, Lotor meeting her eyes. “Who knows, maybe he is right after all.”
“You think to care for someone is the same as being insane?” Allura questioned, seeing Lotor give another lazy shrug of his shoulders.
“It certainly is out of character for me.” Lotor pocketed his half of her collar, moving now to climb off the bed.
“Then I suppose neither you nor the King have heard of the saying that love changes a person…” A quick shake of her head, Allura not quite blushing as she spoke. “Not that I am willing to believe this is love you feel for me!”
“Of course not.” A sardonic look from him. “I’m sure it’s a frightening thought, to be loved by a man such as I. But do try to keep that fear from holding you—us back.” Her hand was caught by his, Lotor lifting it up even as he bent over it. A kiss was brushed across her knuckles, Lotor’s eyes on her face as he completed the movement. “I’ll send for my things.”
“Your things?” She was puzzled, feeling she had missed something, something important. “You’re leaving?”
“Yes. I think some time apart will be good for the both of us.” Came his answer. “Fear not Allura, I will be close by.” He let go of her hand, but remained staring at her. “There’s two empty guest rooms on either side of my chambers. I’ll make my bed there for now.”
“But….but why?” Allura asked, the slow realization dawning that he meant to part from her for more than a few hours.
“It’s really quite simple.” Lotor told her, bending closer so that his lips were by her ear. “I won’t be able to share a bed with you. Not without making certain demands of you.” Allura shivered at the words, finding the purr of his voice held a dark promise to them.
“If we’re apart…..then maybe, just maybe…I’ll be able to control myself.” Finished Lotor, the prince straightening once more. “Don’t look so troubled Allura. Cossack will be close at hand should you require anything. Your needs won’t be neglected just because I am not here by your side.”
She didn’t say anything, just did a dip of her head, staying kneeling on the bed as Lotor turned and strode out of the room. The prince paused in the archway, turning to take in one last sight of her, his left hand lifting in a wave. She slowly waved back at him, and then he turned and walked out of sight from her perch on the bed. It wasn’t until she heard the outer room’s door open and close, that she let out the breath she was holding, Allura falling backwards on the bed.
Free! She was free! Her hands flew to her now bare neck, feeling up her throat. She was still in a state of shock, and a giddy laughter bubbled out of her. She never dreamed this day would really come, and now that it had she wasn’t sure what to do with herself. She thought back on Lotor’s words, his promise to set up her on another planet far away. That sobered her mood, the laughter dying as she realized she wasn’t sure that was what she wanted. Not when Lotor was the only tie she had left to her old life.
Her hand landed on her stomach, Allura rubbing circles on her belly as she wondered what she would do when the nine months were up. ~A lot can change in that time.~ Her subconscious whispered the reminder to her, Allura frowning. ~Including feelings.~ She shook her head, wondering to herself if she and Lotor hadn’t just complicated things and set themselves up for a lot of heartbreak…..