The evening sky of Las Tibayas was a beautiful sight to be had, a vivid purple that changed to navy blue the higher the twin moons climbed. Stars were scattered across the canvas of the sky, twinkling white lights of worlds a million light years away. Allura found herself looking up more often than she gazed at the data pad on her lap, just enjoying the unobstructed beauty of the planet’s sky.
She was out on the hotel’s terrace, a large expanse of space devoted to being an open sky lounge. Chairs and divans were spread out across the tiled floor, people perched on them, some alone, some in small groups. Those by themselves seemed devoted either to reading or studying the sky, while those in groups were laughing and talking quietly. Allura herself was alone, sitting on a divan with her legs stretched out before her, data pad resting on her lap.
A few times she was approached, first by a waiter to take her drink order, and then by hopeful men seeking to ingratiate themselves into her presence. She quickly turned them away, flashing them her wedding ring, the men turning disappointed at the sight of it. Allura had to hide a smile, thinking how useful the band was in keeping unwanted suitors away.
Most of them at any rate, she thought with a sigh, finding her thoughts were once again turning to Lotor. He made it hard not to think about him, what with his heartfelt proclamations, and that eager look of love in his eyes. Even concentrating on her work, she was reminded of him, seeing the changes made in bold red text on the treaty draft Coran had sent. She went over the information with an eagle eye, trying to see if Lotor had changed it in some way to benefit Doom at Arus’ expense.
So far she had turned up nothing of the sort, actually surprised at some of his suggestions. He was making good on his promise to see to Arus’ welfare, taking the time to rewrite the treaty in a way that no loophole existed when it came to making slaves out of her people. No one, not even the poor and out of work would be taken to Doom, Lotor’s change stating that the Drules would have to pay a working wage for any Arusian they employed. She wondered what Zarkon would think of that, knowing the Empire had the money but not the desire to pay for work.
Arus was just one planet, but if the Doom Empire started employing similar tactics elsewhere, it would quickly go bankrupt. She knew Arus would enjoy special treatment only because of her marriage to Lotor. It was the bright spot in this whole mess, Allura realizing that the war would at last be over with. As much as she was dreading returning to Arus with Lotor on her arm, she knew her people would welcome the fact that the war was finally over with. They might bear a grudge against her new husband, but she felt confidant they would understand it was through her union with him that they were safe now.
It was more than just the end to the war and slavery of her people that Lotor offered. He had put down provisions that would have people from other worlds in the Doom Empire come to see to helping the Arusians rebuild. Allura made a slight change to his suggestion, expressly forbidding those people be slaves captured from other worlds. She wanted no sign of slavery to touch her planet, unless of course it was a slave who was sent to Arus to be freed.
Everyone who came to work Arus’ fields, and rebuild it’s cities, would earn pay. Their money would be recycled into the community as they bought food, and paid rent for their homes. The economy would flourish once more, no longer falling apart as it tried desperately to care for a planet made poor by an eighteen year old war. Allura looked forward to the thought of no longer seeing Drule ships poised in the sky, waiting to attack the towns.
Instead they would be there to protect, to bring in the supplies Arus needed. Allura was careful to keep her people’s freedom to man war crafts, not wanting to rely solely on Doom for protection. She was a bit surprised Lotor had allowed that, thinking it would be one of the things he would have argued against. Instead he agreed that her people had the right to bear arms.
Voltron was a trickier subject, but Allura was adamant that it not be used by the Drules. She’d still fly blue lion, but with Doom no longer attacking, she had a feeling her days of soaring the open skies of Arus would soon be over. Lotor had put in a notice that Arus was no longer to send Voltron to assist other planets, not wanting the conflict of interest should the planet in need be one that was being attacked by Doom. It pained her to make that concession, but Allura knew she had to give way on at least something, considering all the generous allowances Lotor agreed too.
The members of the Voltron Force would remain on Arus if they so chose, retaining the right to pilot the lions. Allura refused to decommission them, nor would she allow them to be turned away from the only home they had left. She wondered how Lotor felt about that, and vowed to ask him sometime after he approved of the treaty. She reached for her data pad, fingers flying over the keyboard, typing in confirmation of the final draft.
She was just hitting send, the draft being transmitted via the space waves to Arus, when she heard footsteps approach her. She glanced up, wondering if it was the waiter with her lemonade, and started with surprise at the black haired youth in red. “Keith…”
“Evening Allura.” He said, stopping a few feet before her. His hands were in his pants pocket, and his eyes looked sad. “Avoiding Lotor I see?”
“Er….kinda.” She conceded, hearing the data pad beep, the device letting her know the draft had been sent successfully. “I needed some time alone. To think and go over the treaty.”
“Ah.” An awkward silence developed between them, Allura looking down at her data pad.
“Lotor still has to approve of the final draft before we sign our names to it tomorrow but…” She hesitated, choosing her words carefully. “He’s been more than fair in agreeing to my demands.”
“Fair? Yeah….I suppose he can be, since he’s getting everything he wants.” Keith said sourly.
“Not everything.” Allura tried to offer him a ray of hope. “He won’t have Voltron.”
“Neither will the rest of the galaxy if Lotor and Zarkon have their way!” exclaimed Keith.
“It’s unfortunate but…”
“But what?” demanded Keith, staring at her with an unreadable expression on his face.
“But we all have to make sacrifices.” She finished, voice soft. Keith snorted, and his voice came out loud, angry.
“And what sacrifices will I have to make? What about Lance, and Hunk, and Pidge?” She couldn’t see his hands, but she sensed he was clenching them tightly in their pocket hiding spot. “Will we be forced to give up our home?”
“No, Keith. You can stay on Arus for as long as you like. Forever and ever.”
“And watch you be with him?” A bitter smile from Keith, the youth shaking his head no. “I don’t know if I could stand it. Seeing him touch you, and kiss you on a daily basis. It…it nearly killed me just seeing him do that briefly in your room.”
“I’ll ask him to work on that behavior.” Offered Allura, noting the pain in Keith’s eyes.
“He won’t listen.” Keith insisted, lifting his hands out of his pocket to gesture wildly. “He’ll treat you like an object, like his possession. His to touch and do with whatever he wants.”
“But I’m not his possession. I don’t belong to him!” Allura exclaimed.
“Oh don’t you?” Keith pointed at her hand, Allura seeing his eyes intent on her wedding ring. “That gold band says otherwise.”
“It’s just a symbol of a promise…He doesn’t own me any more than I own him. Neither one of us are slaves.” Allura said practical. “There will be no slavery on Arus.” She was trying to change the subject, hoping to ease Keith’s mood. “Not of my people, and not of anyone who comes from the Empire to help us.”
“And you think Zarkon will adhere to that?” She nodded, and Keith’s words shocked her. “You’re a fool Allura. Lotor may hold his father at bay, but for how long? Until he tires of you?”
“Keith!” His name was a dismayed cry on her lips, loud enough to draw attention from the other people out on the terrace. Blushing furiously, she lowered her voice, hissing out her words. “Lotor says he loves me.”
“That…Drule doesn’t know the meaning of the word. He only wants you, that’s different from love. That’s more like lust. No…” Keith sighed, looking depressed. “He only thinks it’s love. He’ll use you Allura, and when he’s through he’ll toss you aside and move on to someone else.”
“Why are you saying such cruel things?” She demanded, pleased not even a hint of tears was in her eyes. Allura supposed it was easier to hear Keith say these things cause she was under no delusion that she was in love with Lotor.
“Just what?” Allura prodded at his silence.
“Just trying to make you understand.” Keith sighed at last. “I don’t want you to set yourself up for any more pain. I don’t want you to believe his lie of love, and give your heart to him.”
“I wish you would trust me enough to believe I’d know if he was lying to me or not.” Allura said. “I won’t be deceived so easily. I will give my heart only to the one worthy of it. The one who truly loves me.” Keith said nothing to this, allowing silence to stretch between them once more. Allura glanced down at her data pad, fighting the urge to play with it’s buttons. “Keith?” She looked up at him, seeing him studying the stars in the sky.
“Would you really leave me….leave Arus just because Lotor will be there?” She couldn’t keep the hurt out of voice, letting him know how much the thought bothered her.
“I honestly don’t know.” Admitted Keith. “I’d like to stay…if only to be there to protect you from him. Don’t know how good I’ll be though. Never liked picking up the pieces of a broken heart.”
“Oh.” Soft was her voice, Allura staring sadly at him. “I would like it if you stayed though. Please…..for me? Just for a while…”
“I can only try.” Came Keith’s answer. It seemed the best she could hope for, Allura not quite smiling at him. He continued to stare up at the sky, Allura joining him with a sigh. “The night sky here is almost as beautiful as it is on Arus.”
“Yes.” Allura agreed. The sky during the day showed the cloudy smoke of pollution, Las Tibayas holding more cities than her beloved home world. That meant more factories, emitting thick choking clouds of smoke into the air that was rife with chemicals. But at night when the sky darkened, you couldn’t see the smoke, making for a beautiful sight.
“I’m glad I could see this with you Allura.” Keith said, glancing at her. He risked a smile at her, and she wondered what he was thinking. She knew they had seen many worlds, see many awe inspiring sights together. It was an experience she wouldn’t trade for the world, Keith being a dear friend that she enjoyed sharing things with. “If Lotor has his way, we won’t ever get to see skies like this again.”
“Just because Voltron will be limited to Arus doesn’t mean we can’t take trips.” Allura frowned when he let out a bitter chuckle. “What?”
“As if your husband would allow you to go somewhere with another man.” Allura blinked, realizing Keith was probably right. It made her worried, Allura wondering if Lotor intending to keep her trapped on Arus for the rest of her life. It was something she’d have to ask him, Allura moving, swinging her legs off the divan. Keith’s hand was immediately thrust before her, the boy waiting for her to take hold of it.
She did so, Keith easily pulling her up to a standing position. “Will you walk me back to my room?” She asked, and Keith flashed her a brief half smile.
“I’ll do more than that.” He said, taking her hand. “I don’t plan to leave you alone with Lotor tonight.”
“And how are you planning to manage that?” Allura asked, and Keith’s smile widened.
“It’s simple really. I’m going to stay in the room with you. I’ll sleep on the floor if I have too.”
“Won’t that be uncomfortable?”
“It’s a small price to pay to make sure you are safe.” Keith replied as they passed back into the hotel’s main hallway. They were heading for the elevator, walking arm in arm. It was strange, but Allura couldn’t remember ever being this close to Keith before. It was kind of nice, even if some of what he said to her made her feel awkward and uncomfortable.
“How long do you think we can avoid returning to Arus?” Allura asked, trying to make conversation as they waited for the elevator.
“Only a few more days at best.” Keith answered, eyes on the panel that showed which floor the elevator was currently on. “This treaty of yours may stop the attacks, but Zarkon will be impatient to get his people on the planet. I think it best for the Arusians if their princess is there to calm their fears.”
“I’m just worried about their reactions to the news of my marriage to Lotor.” Allura admitted. “Will they ever be able to forgive me?”
“Of course they will.” The elevator had arrived, the pair walking inside it. “Allura, they love and adore you. They’ll understand you did your best for them.”
“I hope so.” Allura sighed, watching as he pushed the button for their floor. “I think I am worried the most about Nanny…”
“As you should be.” He said solemnly.
He laughed at that, genuine amusement in his voice. “You have to admit, Nanny’s reaction will be the most extreme. You’ll be lucky if you don’t put her in an early grave because of this.”
“Oh.” Her face crinkled up in worry, Allura biting her lip fretfully. “Maybe if Coran breaks it to her gently. Just mentions I got married, but not who the groom is. So she has time at least to get used to the idea of my being wed.”
“That could work.” Keith agreed, the elevator dinging it’s announcement of their stop. The doors opened, and Keith ushered her out into the hall. “Still, the shock will not be easy on her…she’ll be crying for Lotor’s head. Especially when she hears of how this marriage happened in the first place.” A side long glance at her, Keith’s eyes curious. “Sure you still don’t remember anything?”
“Nothing that explains how we got to the point of being wed.” Allura refused to tell Keith about the sexy flashbacks she had had, knowing it would only embarrass her and further enrage Keith.
“I guess it doesn’t matter if you remember.” They were almost to the door now. “It’s probably too traumatic for you to want to recall.”
“Er….right…” Traumatic wasn’t the word Allura would use, recalling how eager she had been in those recovered memories of hers.
They reached the door without another word spoken between them, Keith bringing his hand forward to grasp the knob. Before he could open it, the door flew open, Lotor standing there clad in loose fitting black pants. For a second his eyes flashed with excitement. That look died down as he noted Keith next to Allura, his arm looped around hers in a friendly matter.
“Captain.” Lotor practically growled out the title, eyes locked onto their arms. Guiltily, Allura pulled free of Keith, clutching her data pad to her chest. Keith seem to grow annoyed at Allura’s pulling away from him, uttering a snarl of his own.
“What’s he doing here Allura?” Lotor demanded, and her mouth went dry as she thought how to explain.
“I….I….well…he was walking me back to my room. And…”
“And what?” asked Lotor.
“And he thought he’d…” She winced, blurting out the words super fast. “Spend the night on the floor to guard us.”
“Guard us from whom?” Lotor was less than pleased by her words. “If anyone tried to break into our room, I am more than capable of defending my bride!”
“It’s too guard her from you, you animal!” Keith snapped, and shoved past Lotor into the room. He marched over to a chair, plopping down on it’s cushion frame, his arms crossing over his chest. Keith clearly had no intention of leaving anytime soon, and Lotor was scowling, looking at Allura as though she was to blame for this predicament.
“I’m…I’m sorry.” She said, more than a tad meekly. “He just insisted….how was I to say no?”
“If you trusted me, it would have been easy to refuse him!” Lotor told her, then turned his back on her to walk deeper into the room. He sat down across from Keith, and the two locked eyes, each stare challenging the other. Allura could practically see electricity crackling between them, the two males looking murderous.
She stepped into the room, and slowly closed the door. When she turned back, Keith and Lotor were still staring at each other, all but ignoring her. She tittered nervously, pausing to set her data pad down on the shelving unit. “I’ll just go get changed.” She practically flew towards the closet, pulling out her pink and purple nightgown. No one looked at her, not even when she ran into the bathroom.
Allura did her bedtime preparations in record time, then pulled on her nightgown. It was short sleeves that puffed up to be round balls on her shoulders, the material purple and form fitting just over her breasts. A white ribbon separated the purple from the pink, the rest of the night gown loose and flowing almost down to her ankles. It was hardly a sexy nightgown, but when she stepped back into the bedroom, both male’s eyes lighted on her.
Lotor seemed to eat her up, looking her over from head to toe, and settling his gaze on the silk that clung to her breasts. It was too dark to tell properly, but even Keith looked a little heated, though Allura supposed it could be from his close proximity to Lotor.
“You look ravishing.” Lotor proclaimed, rising to stand. She blushed, fingers fidgeting with the front of her nightgown.
“Thank you.” Allura said, hearing Keith make a rude noise. “Um….if you need to change, the bathroom is all yours.”
“No thanks, I am already dressed for bed.” Lotor said, gesturing to his pants. A smirk then, Lotor’s voice a silken seduction. “I normally wear nothing to bed Allura. But for you, I made this concession to preserve some sense of trust between us.”
“How…how kind of you.” Allura stammered, still standing in front of the bathroom. “Keith…are you going to change?”
“Yes, captain? Won’t you return to your room for your fuzzy pajamas?” Lotor questioned, still smirking.
“And risk you locking me out of the room? I don’t think so!” exclaimed Keith. “No. I intend to remain here all night. So don’t try anything Lotor.” Keith actually sneered at the prince, his lips curled in an ugly manner.
“It’s no concern of mine what you do so long as you don’t interfere with my…sleep.” Lotor held out his hand, crooking his fingers at Allura. “Come my darling, let us retire to bed now.”
She didn’t move, glancing at Keith. “Separate sides of the bed.” The captain said, turning his chair to face the foot of the bed. “You do not cross over to Allura’s side, understand?”
“Perfectly.” Lotor enunciated, then shared a look with Allura. “But if my wife chooses to stray over to my side, then what?”
“She won’t.” Keith said, sounding sure of himself.
“I guess we’ll see, won’t we.” Lotor responded, sounding smug. “Allura, I have a request of you, a simple boon I wish you to grant me.”
“Would you give me a kiss goodnight?” Lotor asked, smiling at her. She blinked and blushed, shaking her head no. Keith smirked, and Lotor frowned. “Come now, I hardly ask you for the impossible. Just a kiss to send me off to dream land.”
“Lotor please…no….not in front of Keith.” Allura said, her eyes begging him. Lotor stared at her, then sighed.
“Very well. I’ll accept no this time.” Lotor turned, and stalked towards the bed, pulling back the covers to get onto the left side. Allura waited until he was snuggled under the sheet before moving, walking past Keith and feeling awkward. Both men were watching her move, she could feel their eyes boring into her front and her back so hard it was almost a relief when she climbed under the bed covers.
Lotor rolled onto his side to face her, smiling happily at her. She blushed again, and whispered her goodnight, the two males echoing her words. Lotor continued to stare adoringly at her, until Allura couldn’t take it anymore. She rolled onto her side, presenting him with her back, and snuggled down onto her pillow. She forced her eyes to close, but even that couldn’t stop her heart from beating wildly, or her mind from thinking frantic thoughts as it noted the tension that hung heavy in the room. Allura knew without a doubt, it was going to be a long night.