They had ended up at the hotel’s four star bar and restaurant, Allura and Lotor settled in a cozy booth in a semi lit corner. A round lamp hung over the center of the table, it’s light a warm glow that was just bright enough to make out the words on their menus. They had just finished placing their orders, ordering a light appetizer and some drinks to go along with their meal.
Allura chose to sit across from Lotor, not wanting to give him false encouragement with her nearness. He leaned back in his seat, a smile a constant fixture on his face, his golden eyes glittering with warmth as he looked at her. He was giving off the vibes of a Drule well pleased, the prince having enjoyed snagging this moment alone with her. He kept trying to turn the conversation to them, trying out loving words and seductive glances on her. She refused to be moved by his attempts, Allura sitting rigid in the booth.
It could have fostered an awkward silence, but they had plenty to discuss besides their odd union. Allura actually had many questions for Lotor, it was just a matter of choosing where to begin. “Lotor?” She reached for her glass, something called a peach snappler, which had an orange pink liquid with a bright green umbrella inside the glass. It tasted very good, and she was on her second one already, having told their waitress to keep the drinks coming.
Lotor was drinking wine, a blood red grape he said came from a planet called Tyrus. He had informed her it was his favorite brand of wine, and Allura’s eyes had widened at the price tag that was associated with just one glass.
“Yes, Allura, my darling?”
She ignored the endearment. “How did your father handle the rest of the treaty?”
“Ah…He’s scowling, and desperate for a way to legally break it.” Lotor smirked. “But between you and I, we’ve made it iron tight. He can try all he likes, he won’t be able to do whatever he wants to your people.”
“I’m glad.” She was more than that, feeling supremely relieved. “I’m sorry I left you to deal with him alone but…”
“But you needed to get away. It’s all right, I understand.”
“You do?” Her surprised showed, Lotor nodding.
“My father is trying under the best of times. Even more so when he’s lost something he wanted.” Lotor explained. “He almost acts like a spoiled child, but he’s a million times more dangerous.”
“Something I know all too well.” Allura said, shivering as she thought of how he had murdered her father in cold blood. “He….he won’t do anything to us, will he?” She remembered the conversation, how worried Lotor had been that Zarkon might try to harm her.
“I’ll handle him.” Lotor assured her, reaching across the table to pat the back of her hand. “I won’t let him harm a hair on your lovely head.”
“What about you Lotor? Concern leaked into her voice, Allura allowing Lotor to take hold of her hand. His eyes took on a tender look, the man speaking softly to her.
“Even if my father was inclined to harm me, that treaty we made prevents him. Have you forgotten the clause I added into that contract? It says that on the event of my untimely death, Arus reverts back to it’s own monarchy, free of Doom.” Lotor grinned. “He’ll keep me alive if only to keep his hold on Arus.”
She was relieved, yet trouble by his words, barely able to imagine a life where a father could so casually want to kill his own son. “Would he really try to kill you?”
“He’s attempted to in the past.” Admitted Lotor, making Allura gasp.
“You don’t know the half of it.” His tone was grim, Lotor reaching for his wine goblet. “His most recent attempt was a few weeks after my disastrous marriage to Queen Merla. That was annulled by the way.” A pause, Lotor taking a long drink of his wine. “We never consummated the marriage.”
Allura blushed. “You didn’t have to tell me that.”
“I wanted you to know.” Lotor said simply. “I needed you to understand. That wasn’t love, it was a business arrangement. One my father ordered me to complete.”
“So what happened between you two?” Allura tried to keep her tone casual, but inwardly she was dying to know.
“We were married for less than two days before it fell apart.” Lotor shrugged, falling quiet as the waitress brought them their appetizer. Allura thanked her, and picked up her fork, but her eyes were on Lotor, begging him to continue. He salted his caviar cracker, then looked straight at her. “Merla tried to kill you the day after our wedding.”
Allura’s eyes went wide, this was the first she had heard about this! “What did she try to do? I mean…” She swallowed nervously, reaching for her drink. “How did she try to kill me. What method did she want to use?”
“Poison?” She echoed, a faint memory coming to her. Of a time when Keith arrived to the castle, a warning too late about their drink being poisoned. She and the Voltron Force had discovered the ruse, when her pet mouse Cheddar accidentally knocked over the bottle, pouring it’s poisonous contents into a plant. The plant had withered and died within seconds, a blackened husk that had left them horrified.
“Is this the first you are hearing about this Allura?” Lotor was frowning, having set down his caviar.
“Yes.” She said, watching Lotor’s mouth become an unhappy line.
“I’m surprised.” He told her, than sighed. “No, I shouldn’t be. I told the captain to make it known that it was my doing that you were warned about the poison. I always wondered why you never called to thank me.”
“It was you?” Allura’s eyes were wide, and she quickly finished off her drink at Lotor’s nod. “I…I never knew. Keith told me it didn’t matter who the warning had come from. I…I thought it was those citizens who had come to the castle with him.”
“Didn’t matter….?!” Lotor grumbled under his breath, looking mad. Like magic, the waitress appeared with a replacement drink for Allura, the princess reaching for Lotor’s hands.
“Lotor I am sorry. I didn’t know….”
“Would it have made a difference if you did?” He asked.
“Of course it would have!” Allura insisted. “I would have…”
“Would have what?” His voice was soft, Lotor waiting expectantly.
“Thanked you.” She finished, letting go of his hands. “Lotor I’m sorry. I didn’t know…” She couldn’t keep from looking depressed, wondering why Keith would bother to omit such an important piece of information. Lotor had done good, and what’s more, he had done it out of the concern in his heart for her. That had to count for something.
“It’s all right Allura. We can move on ahead now.” Lotor said, then began eating. She copied his moves, but the caviar tasted like cardboard to her, Allura still stunned over his revelation.
“Lotor? So what exactly happened after you warned Keith? How did you and Merla break up?” She couldn’t help being curious, knowing she knew little of Lotor’s life beyond battles and what her cousin Romelle had told her.
“So many questions.” Lotor smiled, watching her as she washed down the bitter taste of the caviar with her peach snappler. “It wasn’t that dramatic. Merla isn’t prone to hysterical fits. We simply met and agreed to dissolve the union. If you search the Breveruin Canyons on Arus, you might even chance upon our wedding bracelets, the only thing that remains of that ill begotten union.”
“You didn’t even make it back to Doom before you ended the marriage?” Lotor nodded, Allura unsure of what to think. “Do…do you ever regret breaking up with Merla?”
“Not at all.” His answer was immediate, Lotor confidant. “It’s you that my heart belongs to. It will settle for no one else.”
She actually blushed, and knew that even in the dim lighting, Lotor would see, his sharp eyes conditioned for darker settings. “Lotor…how many times have you been married?”
“But your father mentioned another. A…a princess Corral?” Lotor smiled at her, looking pleased that she was taking such an interest in his life.
“Ah Coral…” She worried he looked a little too fond as he thought of that princess. “She was human, a buxom redhead from a planet called Demos. Her world is rumored to be almost as evil as Doom. Naturally my father wanted to align powers with them. It would have been a great political coup.”
“But it didn’t happen.” Allura noted, and Lotor nodded.
“Yes. I was desperate for one more chance at you, and Corral seemed just as desperate to have me. She and Haggar came up with an idea, a way for me to win you. The princess said she did it to please me…I think she was hoping I would fail and choose her to be my bride.”
“What was this idea?” She asked, leaning forward in her seat. She was held enrapt by his tale, feeling far more relaxed now than when they had first arrived.
“Do you remember the time Haggar’s cat scratched you with an enchanted knife?” At her nod, he continued, hurrying to explain. “That was their idea, to put you in a magic sleep, one that would mimic death. Haggar and I meant to spirit you away from Arus, but we struck too soon. I was worried they’d bury you before I could get to you, and seeing the funeral coach run off in the direction opposite the cemetery tipped of the Voltron force.”
“I remember…I woke up in Pidge’s arms.” Allura said. “I was so confused. Lotor, do you regret that plan not working?”
“Sometimes I did. But not anymore.” A smile then, Lotor looking serious. “After all, if I had taken you then, I may not have had you as my wife now. And that is more important to me than any failed plans.”
“What happened when you got back to Doom. How did you get out of the marriage to Corral?”
“So many questions my dear Allura.” But he was smiling as he said that. “Ah, I simply refused. I shipped Corral back to Demos before my father was even aware she had left. Her father was insulted by my actions, and broke off negotiations with Doom. Naturally my father was upset, I believe his exact words were, I should have let you drown as a child.”
Her eyes were two wide saucer pools at that, Allura gasping. “He tried to drown you when you were a child?”
“Yes. He thought I was too weak to live. My mother tried to stop him but…” A shrug then, Lotor trailing off.
“What happened?” She was urging him to finish, having a desperate need to know how Lotor had survived such a cruel fate.
“Haggar came to my rescue.” Lotor explained. “She stopped him, and explained she saw a great many things in my future. Things that would bring great glory to Doom. Of course my father doubted that, but when I became a man, and I started being successful in my conquests, he had to admit the witch had spoken the truth.”
“That’s terrible…” Her eyes were watering up, Allura feeling like she wanted to cry. Lotor noticed, his expression softening.
“You’d cry for me?”
She nodded, but spoke hastily. “I don’t know why….they’re just coming and won’t stop.” She brushed at her eyes with the backs of her hands. “Lotor….why did he think you were weak?”
“Oh he still thinks that on occasion.” She had the distinct impression he was trying to change the subject. “Whenever I fail him in some way, he always throws my weakness in my face.”
“Please….I don’t mean to pry…I just want to understand how a person, your father no less, could try to do such a horrible thing to you!” Lotor sighed at that, and he began drinking his refilled goblet, looking as though he was considering whether to answer or not.
“It’s because of my blood.” He said at last, Allura echoing it in confusion.
“Yes.” He nodded. “My mother…..wasn’t a Drule.” That had her gasping, Allura astonished. Lotor wasn’t a full blooded Drule?! “She was human like you. She even sort of resembled you from what I can remember. Blue eyes and blonde hair.
“I never knew…” Allura said.
“It’s not something we advertise.” Lotor sighed. “My father…whatever his reasons were, mated with a human. I don’t know if he ever loved her. He certainly didn’t make her his queen. But he kept her around, and fathered a child with her….one he says he regrets to this day having in the first place.”
“Is this why he said any children I have with you will be weak? Because of my human blood and your mixed one?” Allura drank down her third cup, wondering when their late lunch would arrive.
“Yes. We don’t even know how they will look. They might resemble you more than me.” That surprised her, Allura letting out a giggle.
“At least they won’t look like Zarkon!” She sobered immediately, aghast at both the giggle and her words. “I…I’m sorry. I spoke out of turn.”
“No need to censor yourself Allura. Not around me at least.” Lotor told her, a warm smile on his face. “I find honesty refreshing. It’s not often I get to hear it. In fact, I admire the way you handled yourself around my father. You were very impressive, standing up to him.”
“Thank you.” She stammered, blushing. “But it’s easy to do when we are separated by light years. I doubt I could handle it to be in the same room as him.”
“You’ll do fine, I’m sure.” Lotor assured her.
“Maybe.” She was doubtful, but more than that she was starting to feel a little too hot under the lamp. She caught Lotor watching her fingers, Allura pulling at the bodice of her sun dress. “It’s a little hot in here……is their air unit broken or something?”
“It’s positively freezing in here Allura.” Lotor told her, still watching her finger’s movement.
“Oh…I guess it’s just me…” A song came on, the tune slow and steady, and before she realized it, she was humming along to it. The sound of her voice made Lotor smile, the prince’s eyes crinkling in amusement.
“Would you like to dance Allura?”
Yes was on the tip of her lips, Allura finding she was bursting with energy. But she hesitated, trying to demurely say no. Lotor had already risen from his seat, sliding out of the boot to approach her. She leaned back, looking up at him, seeing how eager he looked. “All right.” She said, taking his hand. He easily pulled her to her feet, and hand on her back led her out onto the make shift dance floor in the center of the restaurant.
She turned to face him, Lotor putting his hands on both sides of her waist, gripping her firmly to him. She lifted her arms, winding them around his neck and began swaying to the beat of the music. Slow dancing was nice, but Allura was finding she wished for something faster, feeling as though she could do cartwheels at the moment.
“You’re a very good dancer.” She told him, Lotor grinning.
“Thank you, but you haven’t really seen anything yet. Anyone can just sway to a slow song.” He turned her, doing a little dip that had Allura doing an excited squeal. When he righted her, she frowned, wondering why she felt so wild and excited.
“Oh? Then do you know how to dance?”
“I took a few lessons in my youth.” He grinned, slow dancing in the direction of the bar. “I was told it would make me popular with the ladies if I knew how to charm them on the dance floor.”
“I bet it worked too.” Allura said, getting dipped again. “I didn’t have much time for dance lessons. Too busy hiding in caves and the rubble of my castle.” Normally such a thought voiced would have made her sad, but now she felt giddy for some reason.
“I’m sorry.” Lotor said, pulling her tight against his body. “You shouldn’t have had to go through that. You should have had a better life…”
“Yeah…” She agreed, resting her face against his chest. She could hear his heart beat, thumping loudly against her ear. She still felt so hot, Allura wanting to shed some of her clothes in a bid to get cooler. She was so consumed with the heat coursing through her body, that she didn’t object when Lotor hugged her. They stayed like that, Allura actually clinging to Lotor’s shoulders, moving to the music.
The slow song played out for a minute more, and then changed to another beat, the sound lively. Allura’s eyes lit up, and she began wiggling in Lotor’s arms, trying to get him to let go. “Come on! I love this song!”
“Have you ever even heard this one before?” A bemused Lotor asked.
That gave her pause, Allura frowning as she thought. “Of course I have!” She said at last, grinning. “We danced to it the night we got married!” Another giggle escaped her, Allura grabbing Lotor’s hands, dancing fast and furious against him. “It’s OUR song Lotor!”
“So it is.” Lotor said, looking as though he enjoyed the way she was grinding on him. “Does this mean you remember more?”
“A little.” Allura said, looking around but still moving against him. “We weren’t here when we danced. We were somewhere else…somewhere darker, with lots of neon lights flashing….I wish I could remember.”
“So do I.” Lotor sounded wistful, his hands on her waist, trying to control her movements to something more sedate. She wouldn’t let him, Allura determined to dance to her heart’s content. She felt at ease, far too relaxed and happy, and for once in her life she didn’t question the feelings, deciding to enjoy her time with Lotor.