Laying on her side, Allura pressed her cheek against the tile of the bathroom floor, relishing the feel of it’s cold surface against her feverish skin. She felt exhausted, as though she had fought an uphill battle, body betraying her as it rejected the contents of her stomach. She now regretted eating so much for lunch, finding it just fueled her sickness to the point she was expelling saliva, gagging on her breath as her stomach heaved.
She felt fine so long as she didn’t move, nausea temporarily chased away as she lay on the floor. She knew she should get up, but she simply felt she did not have the strength to make it to the next room, let alone reach the bed before another wave of dry heaving over took her. Allura hated the after taste in her mouth, a bitter reminder of what she had just been doing, the girl wishing she could risk rinsing her mouth out with something to drink.
It was the first time she had had morning sickness, Allura taken back by the intensity of her affliction. She wondered if it had been this bad for her mother, Allura wishing for the chance to sit down with her and have the discussions they had never gotten to have, the woman dying far too soon for her liking. Her mother was a distant image in her mind, fuzzy around the edges as Allura tried to remember things about her to take her mind off her illness.
She knew her mother had been beautiful, the palace portraits had told her that much, the girl seeing the resemblance she bore to the woman. There was little of her father in Allura’s appearance, her blond hair and blue eyes coming from her mother. It made her wonder who her baby would take after, would Lotor’s genes overwhelm hers, would the baby be blue like him or pale like her? She hoped at least that the baby would have her temperament, not liking to think of the tantrums a pint sized Lotor could have.
Allura let out a sigh, wondering if she’d even get a chance to learn her baby’s personality. She knew Lotor was dead set on keeping the child, it was one of his stipulations of the deal he brokered with her. She could have her freedom, leave him and Doom behind but at a cost. It pained her to think of leaving the child behind, wondering how she could be so cold as to abandon the little one to life on this cruel planet. She worried how the child would turn out, nurtured in such a harsh environment, shuddering to think of the influence the demon king would have on the baby.
If Lotor was any indication of Zarkon’s parenting skills, the baby would grow up to be selfish and mean, taking what it wanted, rather than earning it through patience and love. She didn’t want that for her baby, didn’t want it to have that kind of life. It was early, but she already felt a connection to her child, a burgeoning love that would grow stronger as the months passed them by.
The baby alone was enough to give her pause about leaving Doom, Lotor was another matter entirely. He exasperated her almost as much as he confused her, Allura unsure of just what she felt for him. She knew she clung to him, Lotor having become her whole world in such a short time. She trembled at the thought of being without his support, unsure of how she could survive without him around to bolster her confidence. She knew it would be strange to end up living on her own after spending all this time with him by her side.
And yet she couldn’t, wouldn’t give in so easily. Lotor had much to atone for, his treatment of her, of her cousin, the enslavement of Pollux, and of course Avok’s murder. It seemed impossible that she could even contemplate a future with Avok’s murderer, Allura knowing the smart choice, the sane option would be to turn her back on Lotor and Doom and never look back.
But the memories would remain, Lotor making a permanent mark on not just her body but her soul. Allura knew no matter what she did, and where she went, she would always carry with her the recollection of her time spent in Lotor’s bed. Perhaps she should look at the baby as yet another reminder, one she should be glad to leave behind. But that thought had her flinching, guilty for even contemplating it. The baby was an innocent, she could not, would not blame the child for the sins of it’s father.
She was just starting to wonder where that father was, when she heard his voice, tone anxious as he all but shouted at someone to hurry. “She’s in here….! Get a move on witch!” Allura frowned, not knowing the word witch, wondering if it was some sort of curse word.
“I’m coming, I’m coming!” A familiar voice cried out, almost a high pitch screech of annoyance that still made Allura smile. He had brought the nursemaid, Allura closing her eyes in relief. She felt confidant Haggar would know what to do, wondering if the woman could give her anything to control the nausea.
“Allura….” Lotor’s voice, softening now as he spied her laying on the floor. She weakly lifted her head in acknowledgment, seeing the brown cloaked nursemaid shove at the prince. It almost wanted to make her giggle as the woman pushed past him with an impunity few would dare show.
The nursemaid walked towards Allura, and glanced at the toilet, letting out a tsking sound. “Poor thing, just look at you.” Haggar didn’t quite kneel, choosing to bend over Allura, bony fingers catching at the girl’s chin. “You’re a right awful mess, you are.”
“What’s wrong with her?” Lotor demanded, hovering anxiously behind the witch. Haggar ignored him, peering into Allura’s eyes, and stroking her cheek. Allura noticed her long nails, they resembled claws and yet they touched her skin with a gentle manner.
“Men like to over react about the funniest of things.” Her tone was conversational, Haggar speaking Arusian to Allura. She said nothing in reply, just lifted an eyebrow, a question in her eyes. “Morning sickness.” Haggar clarified with a little chuckle. “The way Lotor barged into my chambers, I thought you had been poisoned! But this, this is nothing.”
“It doesn’t feel like nothing.” Allura noticed her voice was hoarse, her throat dry and scratchy.
“In the grand scheme of things it is.” Haggar told her, dropping her hand away from Allura’s face.
“What’s going on?” Lotor demanded, Allura realizing he hadn’t been able to follow much of their conversation. “Is she going to be all right.”
“Yes, your highness.” Haggar said, stepping away from Allura. “She just needs a little rest…”
“I didn’t bring you here to tell me she should sleep this off!” Lotor all but shouted at the nursemaid, eyes narrowed into a menacing glare that had no effect on the woman. “Do something to fix this!”
“The first thing we need to do is get her off the floor.” Haggar said, hand gesturing at Allura. “That is hardly the ideal spot for your future bride.”
“Bride?” Allura repeated the word in her own language, offering a quick protest to Haggar. “But I’m not going to marry him…!” Haggar gave a dismissive shrug of her shoulders, stepping back as Lotor bent to pick Allura up in his arms. “I’m not!” She insisted, settling into Lotor’s embrace with a sigh.
“That’s debatable dear.” Haggar told her, pausing by the sink to run the water. Allura lost sight of what she was doing when Lotor stepped into the bedroom, carefully cradling her in his arms as he walked towards the bed.
“It’ll be all right…” Lotor said, his tone showing he was trying to sound soothing. He lowered her onto the bed, leaving Allura propped up against the pillows, his hand pausing to smooth back the hair from her face. “You’ll see. Haggar will make things better.”
“That I will.” The nursemaid said, exiting the bathroom with a cup held in her hand. “And the first thing I want you to do is drink this…” She reached the bed, Lotor snatching at the cup to peer suspiciously at it’s contents. “It’s water.” Haggar said, annoyed. “It won’t do any harm to her, and it’ll make it easier for her to swallow one of my pills.”
Wordlessly Lotor handed the cup to Allura, the girl closing her fingers around it. “I don’t know if I should…” She began hesitantly, staring down at the water. “I don’t feel as if I could hold down anything for too long.”
“That’s where my pills come in handy.” Haggar said, reaching towards the belt around her waist. Small pouches were attached to it, the woman opening and closing flaps as she sought out the aforementioned pills. She had clearly come prepared to help, the woman drawing out a handful of tablets that were a stark white color against the dark blue of her hand. “Here…” She handed them to Lotor, the prince looking at them carefully. “Have her take one a day. It won’t stave off the sickness completely, but it’ll make it more tolerable for her.”
“One a day…” Lotor was counting out the tablets, frowning. “Just how long must she suffer before you offer a more permanent solution?!”
“Silly boy…” Haggar chided, Allura’s eyes growing wide with shock at her words. “There is no permanent solution to morning sickness except time. Allura will continue to be ill during the early stages of her pregnancy.” Another clicking of her tongue, Haggar tsking at him. “I would think you would bother to learn about other race’s conditions before setting out to have a baby with a human.”
“What does that have to do with anything?!” Lotor demanded, making Haggar sigh.
“It’s a different, more difficult time for human females than Drule women.” She said, reaching for Allura’s hand. Her fingertips brushed against Allura’s wrist, the woman testing the strength of her pulse. “Humans are so fragile….in more ways than one.” She nodded, satisfied with Allura’s pulse, but continued to stay holding the girl’s hand. “She’s not a Drule, and you should not treat her like one in this regard.”
“I’m not.” Lotor was frowning, still holding his hand closed around the pills Haggar had given him.
“Drules are lucky.” Haggar told them, a faint smile on her face. “There’s none of this unpleasant business with vomiting. Nor do we get tired half as easily as a human girl would. There are other differences, but those are the worst she’ll be experiencing right now.”
“So…this is normal….?” Lotor asked, not yet relieved.
“Oh yes.” Haggar assured him. Her voice softened, the nursemaid patting Allura’s hand. “Your mother went through the same thing when she was pregant with you.”
“My mother?” Lotor echoed, sounding confused. Allura glanced at him, seeing him stare at Haggar with a strange look on his face.
“She was exceptionally strong for a human.” Allura’s eyes widened, biting back a gasp. Lotor looked shocked, his hand going limp so that the pills clattered to the floor. The sound had Haggar whipping around to glare at Lotor, dropping her hold on Allura’s hand. “Clumsy oaf! Those pills don’t grow on trees you know! Pick them up at once!”
Allura trembled, fearing Lotor might strike Haggar from the way his eyes narrowed at her words. She feared the nursemaid had gone too far, and before she could stop herself she was speaking. “Lotor…don’t…”
“It’s all right Allura.” Haggar spoke softly in Arusian, trying to reassure her. “Lotor has too much to lose to even think about hitting me.”
Lotor slowly exhaled, a shaky breath that could not hide the agitation he surely felt. “What did you mean by what you said?”
“That she was strong for a human.” Lotor clarified, Haggar’s eyes lighting up in understanding. “My mother was a Drule.”
“Is that what he told you?” A hint of derisive laughter was in her voice, Haggar looking at Lotor with pity. “And you believed him?!” A shake of her head, brown hood rustling from the movement. “No, I suppose he wouldn’t tell you the truth. And not many would dare speak about the situation surrounding your birth. Not if they wanted to go on living.”
“My mother was a Drule.” Lotor repeated, as though trying to reassure himself of a fact. Allura stared, eyes flitting back and forth from Haggar and Lotor’s face, trying to follow the conversation.
“No, Lotor, she was not.” Haggar said, calm and confidant as she spoke. “Haven’t you ever wondered why there are no pictures of her? Why you have never met any of her family?”
“She was an only child…” Lotor began, voice hesitant. “Her parents died before I was born…”
“She may have been an only child.” Agreed Haggar. “It’s hard to keep track of a slave’s family, especially when they breed as fast as humans do. The selling and trading don’t help, the slaves being separated from their loved ones.” She glanced at Allura, smiling sadly. “It’s a difficult life is it not? The life of a slave?”
“Yes.” Agreed Allura, feeling just as stunned as Lotor looked. His mother was a human, and more than that, she had apparently been a slave! What’s worse, Lotor did not seem to know any of this, growing more and more angry the more Haggar spoke.
“You’re telling me my mother was not only human, but a slave?!” Lotor snarled out the question, glaring at the nursemaid who nodded. “That’s absurd! My father would never lower himself to dally with a slave in such a manner! He hates humans, thinks they’re weak, soft.”
“Accidents do happen.” Haggar’s tone was mild in the face of his anger, offering the prince a sly smile. “And in his younger days, he was quite the cad, tumbling many a slave girl for sport.”
“I don’t believe you.” Lotor said, standing stiff besides the bed. “He respects the social class too much to do something like that. He’d never father a child with a human…!”
Allura frowned, not liking the distaste Lotor showed when saying the word human. He did not notice, but Haggar did, reaching over to pat the girl’s hand. “You win no points with your bride by showing your open distaste of humans.”
Lotor blinked, sending her a guilty look. “Allura I’m sorry. I didn’t mean….” He trailed off at her head shake, Allura staring at him sadly.
“Is it such an abhorrent thought to you?” She asked. “That you mother could be a human? That your blood isn’t as pure as you would like?” Her hand touched her belly, Allura glancing downwards. “Our baby is of mixed blood. Will you treat it differently because of it’s human half?”
“Allura no! I’m sorry…I’m just in shock. I didn’t mean to imply there is anything wrong with having human blood.”
“And yet you look horrified at the merest hint of that blood running through your veins.” She pointed out with a sad smile. He said nothing to that, making her sigh. “You’ll never change will you? You’ll always be the cold, cruel prince, and I? I will be nothing in your eyes but property. And all because I was born human.”
“You’re wrong.” She turned away from him, staring at the far wall. She heard Lotor let out an exasperated sigh, a command issuing out of him. “Haggar, explain things to her.”
“Me?” The nursemaid was surprised. “Why can’t you do it?”
“I’ll only botch things up worse than I already have.” Lotor said, footsteps sounding as he moved away from the bed. “Besides, I have something important to do.”
“What?” demanded Haggar.
“I have to talk to my father.” His tone was grim, Allura turning to look at his retreating figure. “I’ll get the truth out of him one way or another.”
“Good luck with that.” Haggar murmured, then glanced at Allura, offering a sheepish smile as she switched to Arusian. “Well! That certainly was intense. But it’s par for the course for you two.” Allura just looked at her, slight confusion in her eyes. “There there.” Haggar crooned, bending down to pick the pills up off the floor. “He didn’t really mean to imply that humans are inferior to Drules. But Lotor cannot help a lifetime of conditioning and racial beliefs.”
“What do you mean?” She watched as the nursemaid carefully set the pills down on the night stand, counting them out under her breath.
“Oh it’s all a matter of what we Drules believe.” Haggar pushed a single, solitary pill into Allura’s hand, the girl looking down at the medium sized pill. “Go on take that.” Allura dutifully did as she asked, swallowing the pill down with a drink of water.
“What do Drules believe?” She asked, setting the cup down next to the discarded pills.
“That we are superior to all other races.” The bed creaked, Haggar perching her body on the edge of the mattress. “Of course we are stronger than most, and agile too. Such attributes foster a kind of smugness. Drules are smart too, our minds sharp and cunning. It hasn’t been difficult for the Drules to spread through out the galaxy, subduing other people. That too just cultivates the idea that we Drules are the better race.”
“Do you believe Drules are better than humans?” Allura asked, seeing the woman smile faintly.
“It doesn’t really matter what I believe.” She said at last. “It’s what Lotor thinks that you’re really concerned about.” Allura nodded, sighing.
“He seemed so upset. How can he be fine with our baby bearing human blood, but not with himself being part human?”
“I suspect that in part has to do with you.” Haggar told her, Allura widening her eyes.
The witch nodded. “Yes. He loves you. It leaves him blind and uncaring towards the parentage of the baby, so long as he can keep you close to him. I suspect he doesn’t view it as part human so much as part of you. Special.”
“Special.” Repeated Allura, placing a hand on her stomach. She liked the thought of her baby being special.
“Lotor didn’t hesitate to make a baby with you.” Continued Haggar. “He didn’t think about your human blood mixing with his. Didn’t let that stop him, nor the thoughts of what others would think, his dallying with a slave. He breaks all kind of rules to be with you, scoffs at tradition. No one dares say anything to him, because of his high position here on Doom, but they all look with surprise at the lengths he goes through to be with you.”
Haggar was looking at her, a serious expression on her face as she spoke. She seemed to be stressing the importance of Lotor’s actions, trying to get through to Allura on just how much Lotor did for her. She wasn’t blind, she knew Lotor really did try hard with her, risking all manner of things to be with her. Starting a war, freeing her, even promising to let her go in nine months. All grand gestures that were not granted to other slaves.
“I’m not asking you to forgive him.” Haggar said, filling in the silence between them. “But I am asking you to try and understand just a little more. To be patient. Especially now that Lotor has gotten a revelation that sets his world upside down.”
“His mother.” Allura said, wanting to be clear on something. “She was a human, a slave too?”
“Yes.” Haggar’s lips quirked into a smile, the nursemaid looking amused. “Zarkon and Lotor seem far more alike than either would want to admit.” Allura shivered at that, not liking the thought of Lotor sharing too many similarities with the demon. Haggar noticed her reaction, quickly hurrying to amend her statement. “At least when it comes to choosing the mother of their children.”
“He bucked tradition, just like Lotor is doing.” Haggar added. “Ignoring rank and social status to mingle his precious, pure blood with a human. I dare say you have Lotor’s mother to thank for his pretty looks.”
Allura thought of Lotor now, conjuring his handsome face in her mind, noting his azure skin was so light when compared to the demon’s skin coloring. His face was smooth and line free, Zarkon’s holding wrinkles and ridges on his nose, with ears that were even bigger than Lotor’s pointed pair. She tried to imagine what Lotor would have looked like had he had a different mother, and shuddered. She wasn’t a person to base much on people’s looks, and yet she thought she would die of fright if she had had to bed someone who looked like King Zarkon.
“Come…” Haggar took her hands, placing them palm up on her knees. “I want to teach you something. A simple breathing exercise that will help relax you in times of stress.”
“All right.” Agreed Allura, watching Haggar’s actions carefully.
“It will also help you to meditate.” Haggar continued, taking an exaggerated deep breath. Allura mimicked her, the woman nodding in approval. “If you can reach a state of calm, you can achieve a greater chance for success at wielding the magic I must teach you.”
“Magic?” Allura asked, suppressing her excited interest at the word.
“Yes. Nothing too serious, just some simple protection spells to help guard you and the baby from mischief.” Haggar explained. “There are some that might wish you and the baby ill, so it’s best if you can protect yourself.”
Her words had Allura alarmed, her pulse speeding up in fear. “Who would want to hurt my baby and why?”
“Merla for one.” Hagger reminded her, Allura nodding, but no less calm. “That bitch is determined to get revenge for her son. You’d make the perfect target for her if it meant causing Lotor pain.”
“I see.” Allura murmured. “Please. Teach me all you can!”
“I will.” Haggar promised, eyes serious. “But first we must start off with your breathing. Now follow me.” As Haggar began taking deep breaths, Allura copied her actions. Her mind wandered as she did so, going to Lotor and all she had learned. She felt curious about his mother, wanting to know even more than she already did, wondering if the woman had felt the same conflicting emotions Allura herself experienced on a daily basis. She wished the woman was still alive, so that she could question her, and get her perspective on things. Haggar was handy to talk to, but the nursemaid couldn’t possibly understand everything Allura was going through. She needed a slave’s opinion, and not just any slave’s, but one that had been wanted the way Lotor desired Allura. Unfortunately for her, she had no idea where she was going to find one!