AN: So sorry about the long delay. I sort of hit a crossroad when writing that last chapter, and I realized this story is far from finished, because there is so much to explore in the developing relationship between King and Queen, even if it a relationship built on threats and domination, etc. etc. etc. So I end this tale here, and will develop a Volume 2 of sorts picking up where this one left off, for those of you who would enjoy reading a relationship from this angle. That said, thank you ALL the L/A and K/A and neutral shippers, for your thoughts, your debate, your insight. In many ways, you drove the passion behind the words, and kept the muse alive. :)
PS ~ Thank you for all who reviewed the previous, crazy chapter. Your words are always welcomed and entertaining.
Chapter 40: The Emperor and His Queen
Keith stared out the window, a broken man both inside and out. How did it all come to this? The greatest defeat the Force had ever known, the greatest loss the galaxy had ever experienced, and Allura...
The former captain of the former Force closed his eyes, a lone tear trickling down his bruised cheek.
I shouldn't say this, Keith, but I do love you. You have to promise to forgive me, and to forget me.
Allura's voice floated clearly in his mind.
He and I never could have married. It is forbidden in Arusian law. The captain is a man of duty and honor. He would never have worked against me and my crown.
Allura was intelligent even when fabricating and placating. She knew Keith that well, knew his rigid sense of duty would never have intruded with Arusian law. If only he hadn't been so cold! If only he hadn't failed to act! He might have saved Allura from being wedded to evil itself.
One day Lotor would receive his just due; Keith believed enough in justice to know that, but the captain would not have the satisfaction of being its deliverer. For you see, the emperor was crafty and astute. He had injured the young man in such a way, that he would never be the same again. His leg would heal, such as all his other wounds, but his heart, pride, and self-confidence would be forever broken. In robbing Allura of her purity, in deflowering her... No. In raping her, for that is what it was, no matter how "willingly" Allura had delivered herself to the King, Lotor had assured that Keith's heart, mind, and soul would never recover. A part of him died that day.
Shielding his eyes, the fallen captain wept with silent, but true sobs. The pervading silence surrounding the ship's cabin told him his friend's all mourned with him.
Allura returned to her castle as if a lifetime had passed, not hours. When she had fled, she had been an innocent girl, an adventurer, a daring escapist. Perhaps even an idealist. Her fate was still uncertain, an open book to decide.
She reentered the Castle of Lions a married woman; her destiny forever fixed to the man who grasped her hand with possession and obsessive love. It was a surreal moment, depressive, yes, but strange and highly ironic. How could peace and destruction work together? As if no longer in control of her own body, she gazed at her new husband long and hard, tired eyes drinking in his appearance and beyond. She tried to gaze into his heart and soul.
Her look seemingly did not unnerve nor deter her husband, who responded in turn by affixing his mouth over hers, kissing her publicly, privately, and whatever in between states existed.
"Your look reminds me of a woman in a trance, darling, but I am the one forever transfixed by you," he warmly commented, taking a moment to run his gloved fingertips over her cheek.
How could she respond to that? Allura could not think of any way, so she merely continued her searching gaze. She supposed her lack of reaction was simply the sheer exhaustion that accosted her. It had been nothing less than one turbulent ride from sunrise to sunset. She was fully aware night held no promise of rest. She would be "on-call" that evening, and every other night, and whenever it struck her husband's fancy from here on in.
They walked in this matter until reaching their bedchamber. Her parents old bedchamber. The young king remembered enough to scoop down and carry the lady in. At first, the princess perceived the sensations as if experiencing an out of body moment, but she remembered the hefty promise she had made to this Denubian overlord, and she fabricated something of a smile for him. He settled her down in the middle of the room, and the princess stood there dumbly, drinking in her surroundings. It had been prepared for just this moment, bearing no former semblance to the familiar and comfortable confines the princess once knew. Allura noted the elaborate drapes and the exotic bed coverings. Flowers and candles and enticing food and drink awaited the bride and groom. She continued to stand, unawares of what she should do. All the while Lotor strode about the room, checking items...exactly what she was unsure of.
While the Emperor busied himself, thousands of images assaulted the empress' mind, so much so, she passed a hand over her eyes as if to block the visual assault. "I'm sorry," she whispered quietly and most repentantly.
"Did you say something, my dear?" The king already began making himself more comfortable by removing his garments. Not ready for a second assault of his attentions and abilities, for Allura was still in recuperation mode, the throbbing ache between her legs reminding her of womanly state, she crossed the room to the table. Food would delay anything else at the moment, or so she hoped. She needed to gather as much strength as she could for the marathon certainly awaiting her.
"Of course, you're hungry. Go ahead and eat. I am going to change, debrief with the men a little longer, and then I will...you and I will celebrate properly. In three days time we will begin our wedding tour, and after a brief return to Arus we return to Doom."
Allura couldn't sincerely tell Lotor the plans sounded lovely, so instead she picked at the berry at the table, nibbled on it, and nodded. "Yes, my lord," she managed to answer with a submissive nod.
She could feel when he approached her from behind, placing his hands on her shoulders. "Lovely Allura, I do hope you do not plan on referring to me as 'my lord' and 'my king' all night long. There are some sweeter terms, more intimate phrases I would prefer to pass from your lips." The hands at her shoulder slipped down the front of her chest, caressing, flirting with her more ample portions. One traveled upwards to stroke her neck, while the other fiddled with the zipper at the front of her "borrowed" military flight jacket. "Do me one favor, dearest, do get out of these gaudy garments before I return. There are numerous items in the armoire, but if you choose to wear nothing, that will suit me as well." The insatiable king gave her one quick lick at her earlobe as one hand reached for her covered breast while the other lowered the front of her zipper just enough for him to feel inside. Allura supposed he grew overheated, for he suddenly released her, straightened, finished changing and then went off to meet with his men.
Allura took another nibble of her fruit, her face burning the entire time.
"Remember it is to you whom I have pledged my heart, mind, and soul. I belong to you. In this world and the next."
She had said that. She had better learn to mean it. If not, the years would be long, the trial unbearable, and the days more than what she could handle. How on earth would she ever learn to love her husband? How could she make the lies spoken in a moment of desperation real? For one thing Allura was no liar. Where was the secret to looking at Lotor and not seeing him as the bloodthirsty tyrant that had caused her people pain for countless years?
Pain tugged her heart; true, raw, fresh emotion as she thought of those closest to her; those she would have liked to have closer still. But she could not think of Keith. She could not! Not in that manner. She had to hope that as his body healed, so would his heart, and that in time, he would learn to love again. She touched her lips, the memory of his only time gesture lost in the abundance of greedier, more potent kisses her husband continually showed her.
She rose, realizing she needed to change. It was imperative she demonstrated to her husband how obedient she could be. She needed to gain his trust; she'd given him good reason to shake his confidence.
Allura wondered at her inability to hurt Lotor - physically at least. She recalled those chaotic moments disrupting the final rites of the marriage ceremony. She had had the gun in her hand, had it trained to his back, had cocked the blaster, and couldn't do it. Certainly that told of some measure of care.
If she had to do over, would she have done differently?
The princess pondered the question a long moment. A long time. Even as she slipped out of the flight uniform. After she replaced it with a powder blue night gown of the finest silk. After she had loosened the braid from her hair. After she had stood a while in the middle of her parents' old bedroom with a hand on her hip. After nibbling on her nails...curling her toes...twisting the hem of her robe. Even after praying a long moment, the thought still niggled at the back of her mind, echoing louder and louder.
Would she? Would she? Would she?
The answer came to her as plainly as the ring on her hand. She had not stopped for a second to consider removing it; not even in the middle of her daring escape. The answer was obvious. She would not.
She would not have killed Lotor. Somewhere amidst the hatred she felt for him, she had been with him long enough...had shared in his conversation, partook in his recent experiences - not all of them negative - to realize there was a level of care for him. She wished him to change. To learn of happiness of goodness of love. It would be in the best interest of the galaxy to produce such an emperor. But to assume she held that sort of power to elicit such a grand change of heart... The idea was as laughable as it was overwhelming, if not frightening. And with those thoughts she pulled back the covers on the bed, and made an attempt to rest.
But any repose was short-lived, for soon enough her husband returned to her side. Without words, he pulled at the bedsheets, lay himself next to her, and demanded all her attention.
"My love..." he whispered before beginning his seductions. "This moment is surreal for me as well." The youthful Drule laid his head on her chest, taking in a deep breath, while the princess lay there, slightly wide-eyed at the sound of wonder and awe in his voice. They maintained this silence for another minute, before he gazed at her once more. "Allura, my beloved wife, how are you feeling?"
She gave him another long look, her gaze fixed desperately on his lustful/loving illuminated eyes. She so wanted to see his soul, to see whether he had the capability for reformation, if he was worth the effort of the undertaking. But change had to start within herself if she could ever expect anything to stir within him, so she settled with truthfulness.
"As long as I've waited for you to admit as much, Allura, it is not humble submission I seek. You promised me your love." Lotor stretched out his hand beneath the fabric of her gown, feeling for her skin, pausing to rest his flattened palm over her heart. Allura's beat was erratic and wild beneath his wandering hand.
Tears stung her eyes once more. Damn those tears! How many more would she have to shed? She cried the very minimum at least once a day. Still, she wrapped her arms about her sworn enemy, now her loving husband, the man whom would be closer to her than anyone ever, and lifting her face to his said with a restrained sob, "It is yours to have. I freely give it to you."
She attempted to put whatever genial sentiments she felt for Lotor in the kiss; he reciprocated with all he had, proving to her his impressive stamina, amongst other things.
It overwhelmed and overpowered, and as thrusted repeatedly inside and she cried out - heavens did she cry out - she realized how much this man had indeed won. Every single last bit of her belonged to him. He said as much. But then he confused her by adding how much he loved her. He would do anything for her. He would do everything to secure her happiness.
She prayed that might be so.
~ End of Book One
Stay tuned for Book 2