He kept his fingers curled tight around Allura’s wrist, all but dragging her with him through the many corridors of his ship. She wasn’t protesting, doing her best to keep up with his fast pace. She stumbled only one time, and though he turned to right her, she quickly recovered, shaking her head no. That had left Lotor frowning, the King not liking her refusal of his assistance.
He didn’t slow his pace, almost daring her to trip, as if he needed that excuse to touch her further. His fingers seemed to burn where they touched her skin, Lotor aware of Allura with every fiber of his body. He tried not to dwell on that, tried to focus on her request, wondering what she could possible want to discuss with him so urgently. But his mind kept slipping to the moment in town, when he had first spied her standing in the crowd of rebels.
Something in his heart had stirred. It had been more than relief, Lotor almost desperate to reach her. He had shoved people aside, not caring who he hurt or by how much. Nothing had mattered but getting Allura back into his arms, and once he had her, for one brief moment he had been in peace.
He wasn’t in peace now, Lotor agitated by that mouthy, arrogant rebel who had tried to attack him. He wanted to go back and put him in his proper place, put all the rebels in their proper place. Their actions couldn’t go unpunished, they had endangered too many people, but most of all they had put Allura at risk! That was simple unacceptable.
They passed by people as they strode through the flag ship, for even with all the Drules currently inside the borders of Rugasta, there was still plenty of them aboard this vessel. They looked startled to see him, surely wondering why he wasn’t outside dealing with the rebels. He wondered too, but knew he couldn’t fight a reasonable request from Allura.
Besides, he had this overwhelming urge to lock her up onboard the ship, to hide her away from any and everyone who could be a threat to her. Lotor never, ever wanted to go through the pain and worry he had spent these last two days with when she had been missing. Lotor knew he had been rendered practically irrational, wanting to do things, things some would say was foolish given his royal status.
He didn’t care, Lotor pausing before the cabin that had been Allura’s room onboard the ship. He unlocked the door, then stood there, holding it open for her. She slinked past him into the room, but not before he breathed in the scent of her hair, his eyes closing briefly. Just smelling her made Lotor want to smile, some more of his aggravation evaporating.
It was more than just relaxing him, he wanted to grab her, sweep her up into his arms and never let her go. Either that, or pounce on her, force her to kiss him back just as passionately as those early days of their adult relationship. The thought stirred longing in his heart, and desire in his loins, Lotor having realized something during their separation. He NEEDED Allura. And not just needed her, he craved for something more, certainly something that went beyond the friendship that had existed between them once the truth behind his father’s lies and her identity had been brought to life.
But now was hardly the time to try and seduce her, to work on extending their relationship to something even more intimate than friends. He was a king, and how unfortunate he thought of himself at the moment, due to his royal obligations both to his people and his Empire.
“What did you want to talk to me about?” It was the first time he had actually spoken to her, since leaving the town square. Allura seemed to jump at the sound of his voice breaking the silence, the girl inching her way towards the bed. He stepped into the room, letting the door fall close behind him. “Allura?”
She was just standing there, back to him, the girl staring down at the bed. He realized she was staring at the stuffed robeast, that precious toy that had brought the past to life for him.
“Please…tell me.” Lotor urged, stalking towards her on silent feet. She still seemed to sense his approach, picking up the robeast in her arms. “You said it was urgent.”
‘It was…it is!” She corrected quickly, allowing him to place his hand on her shoulder. He wished he could touch her skin directly, but that heavy wool cloak was in the
way. He frowned, desiring to strip her of it immediately. And not just stopping with her cloak, Lotor wanting to remove that plain peasant’s dress, and her undergarments. She deserved to be clothed in something finer, in riches and the softest of silks.
Lotor shook his head, trying to keep from distracting himself with imagining her in one of her fine gowns, body hugged in all the right places. “Then tell me.” He said out loud, and slowly she turned to face him. Her beautiful blue eyes looked a little wet, he almost panicked to see them that way. Lotor felt something would break in him if she began to cry, the Drule feeling he would do almost anything to keep her from doing that.
“I…” A lick of her lips, her voice choking.
“Yes?” His hand was still on her shoulder, it was all Lotor could do not to reach up and caress her face the way her stray curls were doing to her cheek.
“I…found my parents.” His eyes widened at that, Lotor amazed.
“You did?” A nod from her, Lotor hiding his shock. He hadn’t really hoped for her to find them alive, and now that they were, he wasn’t sure how he felt. Would he have to share Allura with them? “That’s….wonderful.” Allura didn’t look as though she thought it wonderful, her eyes dangerously close to spilling those tears. “Why do you look like you’re going to cry?” He demanded, confused. “You should be happy.”
“I am! I was…I…” A shake of her head, her blond hair caressing the back of his hand. “I don’t know what to do!”
“About what?” he asked blankly.
“About my parents, about the rebels, about Arus.” Allura told him.
“Ah…” He had a few ideas, many of them deadly. “Why don’t we focus on your parents…how did you discover they were alive…?” A sudden thought occurred to him, if he had been human all the color would have fled from his face. “Don’t tell me they were among the rebel camp?” At her nod, Lotor had to fight to keep from scowling. “Allura no…”
“I’m afraid so.” She sniffled, and just like that, he hauled her into his arms, hugging her against his chest. She trembled against him, clutching the stuffed toy. “What am I going to do…?”
“You’re going to do nothing.” He said, and she glanced up, confused. “We’ll deal with this together.” She didn’t look reassured, Lotor sighing. Just why did her parents have to have ties to the rebellion?!
“Together…” echoed Allura with a murmur.
“Yes.” He nodded and urged her to sit down with him on the bed. He wanted to place her on his lap, but had to settle for her besides him. She stared down at the
robeast in her arms, and Lotor nudged her. “Tell me about them.”
“There’s not much to tell. Not yet.” Allura said softly. “I haven’t nearly had enough time with them. But..I know they love me…at least…I think my mother does. Alfor is harder to read.” She made a chuckling sound that ended in a hiccup. “He didn’t want to believe I was their daughter. He tried to keep away, tried to keep my mother away from me too. But she wouldn’t listen.” A fond smile then, Lotor smiling at seeing it.
“And does Alfor believe now?”
“Oh yes.” Allura nodded. “They ran DNA testing on us, to confirm my identity.” Lotor was astounded at that, hardly able to believe the rebels had enough resources to pull such a test off.
“They can do that?” Another nod from Allura, Lotor frowning. “I suppose they stole the necessary equipment from the Drule.”
“Is it really stealing?” Allura asked him. He lifted a brow at that, confused. “My people were here first. It’s their planet…”
“Even if it was their planet, the resources they’ve taken, are still property of the Drule.” Lotor insisted. “Their thieves, but more than that, they’re terrorists. Murderers. Yes..yes they are.” He insisted at her shocked look. “They’ve killed plenty of Drules, and done tons of sabotage. Their crimes are many…”
“Only because your people forced them into it!” Allura pointed out. “If your father had never turned his eye to Arus, if he had never tried to conquer it..”
“We would have never met.” Lotor interjected quickly. She fell silent at that, making him worry. “Would you trade everything to change the past?” His tone was soft, he told himself he would not be wounded by her answer. “Would you turn your back on mother and I to be with your parents?”
“It’s difficult…” Allura hesitated. “I..I love Adaline. I love you.” He tried to keep his heart from singing, knowing the love she spoke of couldn’t be anything more than that of a childhood friend. But damn if he wished it was not more! “I care deeply for Madame Elianza and the children I grew up with…” She hugged the robeast tighter, Lotor worrying she’d squeeze out all it’s stuffing. “But…if I had grown up with my parents, I would have never known all of you. I’d never have the experiences that made me, me. I’d be a different person….”
He thought he’d be attracted to her, no matter what sort of upbringing she had had. But Lotor kept from voicing that thought out loud. “I think things happen for a reason.” Is what he did say. “You were meant to come to Doom. You were meant to be there, to help me and Adaline through dark times. To help me…retain my humanity.”
“I didn’t do much…” She demurred, even when he insisted she had. “I don’t know what life would have been like with my parents. Yes, I would have liked the chance to find out, but…I can’t turn my back on our past.”
“You can still find out.” Lotor told her. “You can have them in your life now.” Pain flashed in her eyes, and concerned, he touched her, wanting to understand the cause. “Allura, what is it?”
“I don’t think I’ll get that chance. They must….hate me.”
“Allura no!” Lotor protested. “No one who truly knows you could hate you!”
“But…they must be so disapointed. They saw me in your arms, they saw me leave with you.” Allura said.
“They saw you beg me to stop the executions.” Lotor pointed out. “That surely had to move their hearts. And I know they have much love for you, because they sacrificed so much…”
“And perhaps continue to sacrifice…” She sighed. “You might have never found them if they hadn’t come for me…”
“We would have found them regardless.” Lotor reassured her. “I would have had my men scour the planet, cover every inch if need be. Your abduction just provided the incentive needed to do it sooner.”
“hmmm….” Just a murmur of sound, Allura looking away. “Lotor…? What do you intend to do with the rebels now?”
“They have to be dealt with.” Lotor answered.
“Execution is a favored form of dealing with insurgents.” Was what he replied. “At least for the leaders…” She whipped her head around, eyes alarmed. “What?”
“Ah…” Her teeth worried at her bottom lip, Lotor frowning at her. “About that…”
“My parents…they…” A meek look, and then she was bowing her head, practically blurting out the words in one breath. “Hold quite a position of power in the rebellion.”
“Are you saying they’re the leaders?!” Lotor demanded, aghast. She nodded, tears streaming down her cheeks. He immediately pulled her onto his lap, the robeast falling to the floor. “Shhh Allura. Shh. Don’t cry.”
“You can’t kill my parents!” She was shaking, and he didn’t know what to say, not sure what promises he could make her. “Please…they’ve been through so much. Arus has been through so much….” He was gently rocking her in his arms, just making soothing sounds that had no affect on her. “Don’t kill them!” She continued to beg,
over and over.
He sat there with Allura in his arms, and felt helpless in the moment. He knew what he should do, knew what his people would demand of him. The rebels had to be made an example of, and yet he didn’t want to break Allura’s heart. “Damn it!” he muttered out loud, the viciousness of his words causing her to flinch. “You make me weak, Allura!”
He was downright hostile when he said that, angry with her, and with himself. He blamed his human half for this weakness, knowing in an instant she had rendered him indecisive.
“I don’t mean too…” Allura sniffled, rubbing at her eyes with the back of her hand. “Truly I don’t…”
“You do it all the same.” Lotor retorted.
“I’m sorry!” She said, and he softened just enough to pet her hair.
“I am too.” He whispered, and that seemed to make her cry harder.
“Can’t there exist peace between the Drule and the Arusians?” She asked. He shrugged, and Allura continued. “There are more rebels out there. Out on missions even now…” That alarmed him, Lotor wanting to call his men to warn them to be on alert. “If you kill those you captured, others will rise up to take their place…”
“Not if we make an example out of these…” Lotor muttered darkly.
“Everyone is so quick to fight here. So quick to want to kill each other. Why cannot Arus become like planet Ranxhi?” It was an innocent question, but it got Lotor thinking.
“Ranxhi…the world where Madame Elianza lives…?” He asked.
“Yes.” Another sniffle, less forceful in it’s sound. “The people there earned the right to not be slaves. They existed as free citizens of the Drule Empire.”
“Yes, I know.” Lotor told her. “Ranxhi started out a slave world, and after years of servitude, they were granted the right to be integrated into the Drule Empire as something more than slaves.”
“Can you not do that for Arus?” She didn’t even try to sound hopeful, peeking up at him through lowered lashes.
“The Drules won’t like it.” Lotor said, not answering her question directly. “Not with the trouble Arus’ people have caused.”
“But you are King.” Allura pointed out. “Shouldn’t your word be law?”
“It’s not that simple…” Hedged Lotor. “I have things to consider…”
“But you could make it possible.” Allura was pressing him now, tone urgent. “You wanted to prove your reign would be different from Zarkon’s. Why not start with freeing Arus, make my planet and people something more than slaves…”
“Do you think the rebels would even consider that?” Lotor asked her, and she shrugged.
“I honestly don’t know. But someone has to put an end to the violence! If not the Arusians, then the Drule.” She looked startled when he started laughing, Lotor shaking his head no.
“The Drules will never be anything but violent. I know that well.” He sighed then. “But…I suppose it can’t hurt to hold a meeting, open up a channel of communication between us and the leaders of the rebellion.”
“Lotor?” She looked as though she did not dare believe, her tone astonished.
“Come Allura. Invite your parents, and anyone else you think is important to the rebels aboard my ship. We shall hold a meeting, and at the very least discuss Arus and the rebel’s future.”
She didn’t smile, but hope had blossomed in her eyes. She all but squealed as she threw her arms around him, pressing as close as possible to his chest. “Oh thank you, thank you!’ She cried out enthusiastically.
He wanted to savor the moment, wanted to fall back against the mattress with Allura on top of him. Instead Lotor forced himself to peel away from her, holding in his amusement. “Don’t thank me just yet. I only agreed to talk about our grievances with each other.”
“It’s enough!” She exclaimed, flush of face and standing he missed her nearness already, Lotor holding back a smile. “It’s more than enough!”
“Just try not to build your hopes up.” He warned, also rising to stand. He ran a hand through his mussed hair, trying to flatten it down. “There’s much to be done…the road to peace is not easy.”
“But the journey towards it is always worth traveling!” She told him back.
“That it is.” Lotor agreed, and walked her out of the room. He flagged down one of the soldiers in the hall, ordering the man to escort Allura back to the town square. There she would fetch her parents and some of the other rebels. He made sure to make it understood that they were not to be harmed in any way, Lotor wanting to get off on the right foot with these peace talks.
Allura was practically glowing with happiness, seeming to dance down the hall as she followed the guard. Lotor wanted to smile at her antics, but more than that he worried. He didn’t like that she was clearly building up her hopes, Lotor fearing what would happen if the talks didn’t go the rebels way.