Freedom 44

They were completely drenched by the time they got inside the building, Lotor finding his clothes were sticking to his body, his hair plastered down by the rain. Allura was no better off, her pant suit turning translucent as it clung tighter to her body, to the point it was almost obscene in how much it showed off her form. Lotor found himself pealing off his shirt, handing it to Allura, who stared at the wet garment blankly.

“Put it on.” He ordered, trying not to be blatant in staring at her chest.

“But it’s wet.” Allura pointed out with a frown.

“Just humor me.” Lotor said, not wanting anyone to see her like this. A quizzical look was in her eyes as she reached for his shirt, a soft grumble escaping her as she pulled it on over her blouse. It bagged on her form, draping down to her knees to hide her figure from sight, Allura practically swimming in his shirt. Lotor nodded his approval, and reached for her hand, once again urging her to follow him.

The maids were in the hall, their voices a soft chatter as they shook out their clothes, trying to wring out the rain that soaked their dresses. Puddles were all over the floor of the hall, Lotor stepping carefully past them as he led Allura deeper into the castle. Outside the rain continued to fall, faster now. The fat drops pelted the castle and the ground around it, forming a loud pitter patter of sound. Occasional crackles of thunder could be heard, the storm signaling it’s intent to remain a while in the area around the castle.

Allura’s sneeze added to the noise, Lotor offering a quick bless you in response to her sound. A guard turned the corner at the end of the hall, looking surprised to see the crowd of wet people. Lotor gave a curt nod of acknowledgment, feeling Allura squeeze his hand as she walked besides him. He glanced at her, Allura looking at him curiously.

“Where are we going?”

“To the bedroom.” Lotor answered her, keeping a firm grip on her hand. “We both need to get out of these wet clothes before we catch a cold.” He turned, but not before he caught sight of her frown, Allura looking displeased at his words. He didn’t stop to reassure her, merely quickening his pace as he sought out the closest staircase that led to the second floor.

“Lotor…? Where did you spend the night?” She asked, following him past the guard, to move around the bend of the hall.

“Oh here and there…” Lotor shrugged. “I mainly stayed up in the ball room and the rooms that lay before it.”

“Stayed up?” Allura sounded surprised. “Then you haven’t been to sleep yet?”

“No. There was much to do. I had a lot of work to oversee towards cleaning up and repairing the damage done to the castle and the people in our care.” Lotor said, and felt Allura drift to a stop. “Allura?” He turned to look at her, surprised by the disgruntled expression she showed him.

“I should have done that.” She sighed, expression growing chagrined. “I should have been there to help you….To see to our guests. Instead I ran like a coward, hiding myself away in the bedroom.”

“No one thinks that of you.” Lotor was quick to assure her. “It’s understandable that you be upset. You needed time to recover…”

“But the needs of my people should come before my own needs.” Allura said. “I was lax in my duty. I won’t be any longer.”

“That’s fine. I look forward to your help. But before you go rushing off anywhere, a change of clothing is in order.” Lotor’s tone was firm, brooking no arguments.

“All right.” She agreed, allowing him to guide her down the hall once more.

“How about you?” Lotor asked, a concerned look on his face. “Did you sleep?”

“A little….but it was difficult…” She lowered her eyes, staring at the floor as she walked. “I kept having terrible nightmares.”

“I’ve no doubt that your sleep was plagued with them.” Lotor said, wishing he could protect her from the disturbances of her mind. “But it will get better Allura. It’ll take time, but the memories will fade, the nightmares will grow less potent in power.”

“I hope you’re right.” She sounded doubtful of this, Lotor pushing confidence in his voice.

“Of course I am!” Lotor said, at last reaching the stair case.

“Do you ever suffer nightmares?” Her question gave him pause, Lotor hesitating.

“Yes.” He said at last, his tone more curt than he liked. “I have.”

“Of things you have seen?” She asked, Lotor nodding his head.

“Sometimes. There’s one in particular that keeps coming back….though I’ve learned to deal with it over the years. I find it gives it less power if you simply accept that it’s a dream that you can’t change.”

“Dreams that you can’t change…” Allura murmured. “Lotor…what do you dream about?”

“Mostly about you.” He said, reaching the top of the staircase.

“Me?”

“Yes, you.” His tone was teasing, Lotor trying to steer her away from talk of nightmares. “And what dreams they are!” He glanced at her, a smirk on his face that made her blink and blush, her cheeks the faintest of pink. “Of course…they can’t compare to the reality of you in my arms but…they are a nice diversion when I sleep.”

“Hmm. I suppose it’s better than you dreaming about some other princess!” She exclaimed, making him laugh.

“You’re the only princess I have my eye on.” Lotor told her, stepping his pace quicker as they moved down the hall towards their private chambers. Another glance at her face showed Allura was thinking hard on his words, a half smile on her lips that reminded him of Orla’s.

“What about other women?” She asked, curious. “Do you dream about them?”

“No.”

“Not even a little?” She sounded amazed, making Lotor laugh once more.

“Allura, do you think me unable to be devoted to just you?”

“No, it’s not that. It’s just….you had a harem….you’re used to women throwing themselves at you.” Allura was studying him intently. “I just sometimes wonder if I’m enough to satisfy you.”

“More than enough.” Lotor said, lifting her hand to his lips to press a kiss across her knuckles. That blush of her deepened, growing redder in hue as she quickly looked away. “Sex is….good. But it’s as you said, meaningless if there is not feeling behind the actions. I find being with the one I love a million times more satisfying than being with my gaggle of harem slaves who were practically strangers to me.”

“Hmm, you always know just what to say, don’t you?” She asked, and now he shook his head no.

“Not always.” They were almost to the doors, Lotor winking at Allura. “Sometimes I stumble, struggling to find the right words to say, especially around you.” A sigh then, Lotor’s turn to look away. “Especially when trying to explain my actions to you.”

“I see.” Allura said, the guards reacting to their arrival, performing hasty bows before hurrying to open the doors. “It’s okay though. It makes you more real if you don’t have the right answers all the time.”

“Life would certainly be easier if I did have those answers…” Lotor said, walking into the foyer.

“Easy would be boring, wouldn’t you say?” Now she sounded teasing, Lotor glancing at her as the doors slid to a close behind them. “You enjoy challenges Lotor. I know that much about you from your pursuit of me.”

“Yes, you certainly made me work hard to gain your hand.” Lotor agreed, keeping a firm grip on wrist. She followed him towards the bathroom, Lotor flicking the light on before stepping inside.

“I think you wouldn’t have been half as interested if I had made things easy for you.” She retorted, pulling her hand away from his. “You were so used to getting everything you ever wanted that you couldn’t comprehend someone denying you something.”

“Perhaps.” He was not willing to concede the point to her, Lotor walking over to retrieve a towel from the wall hanging. “But I think you would have won me over regardless of how easy you made the chase.”

“I honestly don’t see how.” Allura said, watching him as he approached her with the towel. “And don’t say it’s because I am beautiful because I happen to know you had plenty of beautiful women in your harem!”

He chuckled, wrapping the towel around her hair, doing a vigorous rub to dry off her golden mane. “Your spirit alone would have made you stand out, my dear. Your beauty is just a bonus.”

“Hmph!” She frowned at him, Lotor continuing to fuss over her hair.

“What about you?” He asked, curious. “What were you looking for in a potential husband?”

“I…I don’t know.” Allura said, glancing downwards. “Truthfully I was waiting for love….waiting for the right man to come along and sweep me off my feet. I never expected you to attempt to do just that with your many kidnapping attempts!”

“It got your attention, didn’t it?” Lotor smirked, letting go of the towel, Allura reaching upwards to hold it in place. Seeing her hands occupied, Lotor reached for his shirt, working to get the buttons open.

“Lotor…” A small protest from Allura, the girl trying to shy away from his hands. He kept his expression serious, eyes intent as he eased open the buttons of the shirt, quickly opening it so that the pink of her wet blouse showed. It was when he went to ease it off her that she grabbed at his wrists, staying his hands’ movements for the moment.

“Allura?” He glanced up at her, a quizzical look in his eyes.

“I can undress my self…” She told him, a blush blossoming on her cheeks.

“Ah…but I like doing things for you.” Lotor told her. Even with her gripping his wrists, he easily moved his hands, sliding the shirt down her arms. She seemed to sigh in resignation, allowing it to fall to the floor as she dropped her hands to her sides. He looked at her for a moment, seeing the damp curls of her hair clinging to her face, seeing the way the top of hers showed off the bra beneath the wet material, and smiled. Now that they were in the privacy of their chambers, he could enjoy the sight of a rain drenched Allura without need to worry that someone else would do the same.

“What?” Allrua asked, sounding wary.

“Hmm?” A quirk of his eyebrows, Lotor glancing away from her chest to see her frowning at him. “Just like looking at you.” He said with a laugh, seeing Allura shake her head in bemusement.

“I must look a mess.” She protested, reaching to tuck back her hair in a self conscious movement. Lotor merely laughed harder, shaking his head no.

“My dear, it will take a lot more than a little water to mar your looks in my eyes.” Lotor assured her, hands reaching to touch the rain soaked blouse. His fingers bunched up the material, Lotor starting to tug it upwards, the princess sighing as she raised her arms. “You act so put upon.” Lotor commented, pulling the blouse free of her head, ruffling her hairdo further. “Is it that hard to accept my compliments?”

“No…well…maybe.” Allura admitted. “I’m not used to being praised so openly.” His eyes widened in surprise, Allura hurrying to explain. “You’re the only one who has been so blatant in admiration for me. Nanny, Coran….even Keith….it was tough wringing a praising word from them.” She smiled then, giving a little shrug that did interesting things to her chest. “I guess they all wanted to keep me grounded and level headed.”

“I don’t think a few compliments will give you a swelled ego.” Lotor told her, and now she laughed.

“Maybe not. But it still takes some time getting used to.”

“Well, we have a lifetime to get you acclimatized to such words.” Lotor said, dropping her blouse on the floor. “I don’t intend to stop. My wife is a beautiful, caring, and generous soul, and you deserve to know it.”

“Stop…you’ll make me blush.” She protested, and he smirked at her.

“Too late for that.” She tried pouting at him, Lotor chuckling as he reached for her waist. His hands touched her chilled skin directly, Lotor hissing out in surprise. “Allura, you’re freezing!”

“Maybe just a little…” Allura agreed, beginning to squirm as he rubbed his hands up and down her sides, trying to warm her.

“Why didn’t you say something sooner?” Lotor demanded, pulling her against him so as to share his body heat with her.

“Honestly Lotor, it’s not that big a deal.” Allura said, hands going flat on his chest. “It’s just a little chill. I won’t die from it.” She smiled at him, hand caressing over his heart. “But thank you for your concern.”

“Well…” His tone was gruff, Lotor feeling a little embarrassed now. “You’re welcome…But I’ll feel better once I get you warmed up.” He moved, taking her with him, ushering her towards the shower. She moved unresisting, allowing him to guide her into the raised platform, Lotor following close behind. “You humans are such fragile creatures…” He said when she sneezed again, Allura looking at him questioningly. “Quick to catch cold from a little thing like rain.”

“Hmph. And I suppose you Drules are so much hardier than us weak little humans?” She demanded, but Allura smiled as she asked that, showing she wasn’t as affronted by his words as she could have been.

“Yes, we are.” Lotor told her, hands once again on her waist. “We have to be, growing up in the harsh environment of Doom.” He hooked his fingers into the waist band of her pants, and before she could protest, he yanked them downwards, leaving her to stand before him in bra and panties. Her feet were encased in open toed sandals, the pants easily sliding over the shoe.

He allowed his gaze to sweep over her, noticing the way she shivered, her flesh breaking out into goose bumps. He then turned, tossing the garment out of the shower, his hands reaching to close the glass door, leaving them encased inside the spacious shower stall. The water came on at a touch of his hands on the faucet, a soothing mix of warm rain drops that pelted them from all sides, Lotor standing close to Allura.

“You didn’t take off your pants.” She pointed out, as he hands reached for her hair, unraveling it from it’s bun.

He flashed a wide grin at her, and leaned in close to whisper silkily into her ear. “I’m not wearing anything underneath it.”

“Oh!” He pulled back in time to see shocked blue eyes, Allura staring at him in surprise. He took his teasing one step further, hands dropping to his waist as though he meant to remove his pants. She blushed harder, and suddenly was turning, presenting him with her back.

“Allura?” Lotor called out her name, taking a step towards her that allowed him to press his front against the back of her body. “It’s okay. I’ll leave them on…” For now was unspoken between them, Lotor touching her shoulders, rubbing warm water across her skin in an effort to further chase away her chills. But his touch set her off trembling, Allura leaning against him as she lifted her face to let the shower splash water directly on it.

He was quiet as he massaged her shoulders, feeling the knot of tension in her. It made him frown, Lotor knowing it had been days since his wife had been so tense around him. His fingers worked harder to loosen her up, Allura letting out a soft murmur as he kneaded her skin.

“I did miss you last night.” Lotor said, hands sliding down her arms, fingers caressing more water along her skin. “It was lonely and difficult to be gone from your side, knowing you suffered for my actions.”

“I missed you too.” Her admittance made him smile, Lotor pressing his face against the side of her head, nuzzling her hair with his cheek. “I woke up a few times looking for you…It made me…sad to see you gone from my—our bed.”

“Does that mean I am not banished to the couch after all?” Lotor asked, seeing her head bob in acknowledgment. “Good, I’m glad. I don’t think I could handle many a restless night away from you.”

“Same here.” Allura said, then sighed. “It surprises me how…attached I’ve grown to you.”

“Attached…what does that mean?” Lotor asked, seeing her hesitate. “You like me. Could it be, you feel something more than just like?”

“A lot more than just like.” She nodded, then sighed again. “And that troubles me…”

“Why?”

“Well…I don’t want to get hurt in the process…” She told him. “I don’t want to give you my heart and have it end up crushed by you and the things you do.”

“I would never do that.” Lotor was quick to protest. “Allura..” He spun her around so she faced him, his hands still gripping her upper arms. “Your heart is something I treasure, and would take the utmost care of.”

“I think I know that. But…” She glanced downwards, Lotor letting go of her to touch her chin.

“But?” He echoed, looking into her eyes.

“But…you may do it anyway. In trying to do things the Doom way, in trying to appease your people and your father.” He couldn’t tell if Allura’s eyes were growing wet with tears, or if that was just the shower on her skin. “Last night was a perfect example of that.”

“I…I can’t promise I won’t do something like that again.” Lotor said, a frustrated sigh escaping him. “But I can minimize the killing that needs to be done. Please..don’t shut me out for one mistake…”

“I won’t.” Allura agreed. “I just…” A sigh then, Allura leaning forward to hug her arms around his waist. “I just forgot who you really are.” Her words made him freeze, Lotor trying not to show his reaction. “You’re the crown prince of Doom first and foremost….you have to act accordingly. You can’t be the man I…” She shook her head, words being lost in the motion.

“The man you what?” Lotor urged her to finish, and now she frowned.

“You tried to warn me in the med bay.” Allura said instead. “These past few weeks have been like a dream…it was bound to change when the reality of our situation came intruding into our lives. You can’t always be the kind and gentle man…I’m trying to come to grips with that. But it’s so hard!”

“I imagine it is.” Lotor said.

“I won’t dwell on the past. At least…” A half smile then, Allura looking up at him. “I’ll try not to. But it’ll take me some time. I hope you’ll be patient with me.”

“When have I ever not been patient with you?” He asked, half jokingly.

“You’ve been more than kind all things considered.” She admitted.

“Hmm.” A noncommittal noise from him, Lotor just nodding at her.

“Thank you.” Allura added, going up on tip toe to press her lips against his mouth. He instantly reacted to her innocent kiss, Lotor fighting not to deepen it, his own jaw trembling from the struggle. He wondered if Allura noticed, wondered if his wife was aware of just what an effect she had on him, her chaste kiss turning hesitant as his own lips began to take over the action.

He heard her murmur his name against his mouth, even as his hands moved to capture her cheeks, hold her in place against him by her face. His own lips turned coaxing, working to beguile her mouth open as he sought to override her senses with his passion. A muffled squeal was her response, Lotor pushing her against the glass door of the shower, pinning her in place with his body.

Tongues touched, and for one brief instant they danced together, desire flaring in Lotor’s veins. It was dashed when Allura released her hold on him, hands flat on his chest, as she tried to shove him away. Lotor moved with extreme reluctance, his lips wanting to linger against hers, even as he pulled back.

The kiss had left them both ragged, breathing heavily, staring into each other’s eyes. At last Allura spoke, her voice a broken whisper as she shook her head no. “I can’t, I’m sorry.” Her hands were sliding along the glass, looking for the knob to open the door.

“It’s just a kiss…” Lotor protested, even as she let out a tortured sound.

“It’s never just a kiss with you, and you know that!” Allura exclaimed, then sobered up. “I’m sorry…it’s just too soon. After everything that happened….” Another shake of her head, Allura getting the door open. “I need time Lotor.” She said as she stepped out onto the tile, reaching for a towel.

“Fine.” He was watching her wrap the towel around her body, his voice betraying how much he didn’t like this need of hers.

“Forgive me…” Allura added, and moved, all but running out of the bathroom. Lotor waited until the door slammed close to let out a furious growl of his own, slamming his fist against the tiled wall of the shower stall. The pain jarred him into being less angry, Lotor sighing morosely as he slumped against the wall. He was left wondering just how much time it would take for everything to go back to normal between them.


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