Well, I'm back with a new fic. Hope you like this one. It's kind of a soap opera...I'm not the best at what I imagine to be contemporary themes. I like my scifi a lot better, but I thought I'd try anyway. As always, I'm a writer trying to improve her skill, so feedback is important to me.
Thank you for reading, I really appreciate it. As I post, you'll get a little history of how this fic came about. For now, let's just say that I didn't follow canon too much in this one, so...just expect the history of the characters to be a bit different.
Well...on to chapter 1.
Keith Kogane had two loves that forever engrained in his heart. One was his job. He lived and breathed the military. It made him who he was and it allowed him to express tangibly all the feelings and behaviors he believed in. His dream was to become the Space Marshall of the Galaxy Garrison and an Ambassador to the Alliance. Such were the big dreams of a twenty-four year old farm boy that gave up feeding the chickens and milking the cows at four o'clock in the morning. He loved his life, but his heart and mind desired more.
The other love was the one he met three years prior. He fell in love with her almost immediately. Well, almost. It was after his dear friend's injury while fighting Doom that Keith had been forced to train the Princess of Arus in the Blue lion. He drilled her hard, worked her even harder. Allura never complained, never sobbed, never turned to anger to get her way. Keith fell in love with her instantly. Allura had a way about her that fascinated him. She eager to learn, accepted criticism and challenged herself, even when he didn't think she needed to. Those were the qualities that he loved and made him see her beauty in a way even beyond her physical appearance. But through the years, he had learned to keep those feelings hidden within himself, knowing that they wouldn't be reciprocated.
Sighing, he decided to put all thoughts aside and concentrate on what was in front of him. After dinner, he declined the usual movie or activity in the rec room and instead, walked to his office to look over some paperwork that Garrison had sent him. He found himself so deep in concentration that he didn't notice the door open or the voice of his friend cursing as he walked in.
"I can't stand her!" Lance yelled. "How long are you going to put us through this torture? I missed a damn good dinner for this ridiculous appointment." The only one not present at dinner that night was Lance, who after trying to evade from Graham's request, ended up having the last appointment of the day.
"I didn't do anything, Lance," Keith answered without looking up at him, "Blame it on Graham. He's the one who wanted all of us evaluated."
"But this is insane. We don't need psych evaluations. We're as normal as we can be!" The second in command snapped as he sat down in the chair across from Keith's desk. "Just because we destroy robeasts all the time doesn't mean we're going to go crazy enough to be put in a straight jacket."
Keith shrugged and didn't answer him. Sighing, Lance, continued, knowing that his friend would never second his ideas when it came to Garrison protocol. Either way, Lance needed to vent, and Keith was the perfect subject at the moment. He would never answer him, but would never stop him from speaking either, "Do you know what the quack wanted to know?"
"Your childhood fears," Keith responded as he began typing a report on his computer.
Raising his brow, Lance asked, "How did you know? God, I'm starving!"
"I had my session earlier this morning," the captain responded. "You should have taken the earlier appointment. Serves you right for trying to bail out."
"Bite me," he snorted. Leaning forward on his desk, Lance asked, "Why doesn't Allura have to do this? She's seen more of Zarkon's toys than we have."
"She's not Garrison. They can't touch her."
"Lance!" Keith raised his voice as he continued typing.
"I was going to say it in a good way," Lance sighed. "So, what did you tell her?"
"The quack!' Lance rolled his eyes. "Would you stop working and talk to me!"
Looking up at his friend, Keith sighed, "Okay, you have my undivided attention. What do you want to know?"
"What did you tell the quack?'
"Doctor Rabionet just wanted to see what we feared as children. Apparently, your childhood fears are associated with insecurities that you'll develop later in life. Maybe she wanted to know if we developed them or if they manifest themselves more during battle."
"Bull!" Lance hollered. "That woman is so full of herself."
"If it makes you feel any better, I don't think she likes you either," the captain laughed. "Anyways, she's only here for another day or two.. You may want to get on her good side, if you don't, she might ground you before she leaves."
That kept Lance quiet for a while, "Don't worry, I only speak freely around you."
"Sure," Keith snorted. "So you want to know?"
"Yes, finally." Lance answered, "What was it?"
Sitting back on his chair, Keith stared at his friend, "It's kind of boring."
"Humor me. Don't tell, me, it's something like clowns or the dark or some crap like that. Oh, wait…spiders!" he laughed.
"No," Keith shook his head, "My aunt Katherine was a devoted Catholic. She babysat me when my parents had to compete in county fairs or meet with prospective companies to sell stock and what not. Anyways, she always took the opportunity to read to me from the 'Good Book'."
Lance made a face as Keith continued, "Anyways, her favorite book was Revelation. She loved reading about the great dragon with eight heads, the one that was thrown from the heavens to Earth. When she read those chapters about the war and Armageddon….they scared me."
"I could imagine," Lance answered, "So when did you grow out of that?"
"Kind of didn't," Keith answered with a shrug.
"What?" Lance raised his brow with disbelief.
"Well, not that I'm afraid," Keith answered, "But, I respect the Bible and somehow maybe there's some truth to it."
Standing up, Lance shook his head, "Yep. You're a certifiable nut job. Anyways, before I go, I needed to tell you that Allura asked us if we could escort her and Liam into town tomorrow morning."
Keith stiffened. Liam. Another suitor Coran wanted her to get to know. He wanted her to marry before her twenty-second birthday, which was just a few months away. Liam was the latest of a long list of potentials, but he was the only one that had stayed longer than the others. The man was arrogant and Keith loathed him, but he would never show it outwardly. Liam had fooled almost everyone around the castle, except Keith and Lance. Keith thought that if Sven met him, he'd hate him too. The three of them usually had a sixth sense when it came to people, "Why?"
"She wants to show him around," Lance laughed. "I don't know what she sees in the bastard. He's an idiot."
Keith said nothing as he settled back and began working on his report, "I'll be there. What time?"
"Alright, nine it is," he answered, looking at the monitor. Keith kept on working, but said nothing more of the subject. Lance noticed his change in composure at the mention of Liam. Lately, he had noticed it more frequently as the prince's stay continued. Not wanting to say anything else, Lance walked out of the office, thinking deeper on his observation.
Hazar walked down the hallway toward Lotor's private compound located on the backside of castle Doom. He did not wait for an announcement when he arrived. Instead, he bypassed the guard at the door and walked right into the main chamber where the crowned Prince of Doom, Lotor, lay on a massage table, nude. With his eyes closed, the prince groaned as he enjoyed the feel of the woman's hands strong hands on his back. Hazar stopped in front of Lotor, "Open your damn eyes, you know I walked in!"
Lotor's eyes lazily opened. He smiled carelessly, "To what do I owe this visit, Commander?"
"You know exactly why I'm here. You promised yourself to my sister, Lotor. Dorma did not deserve your betrayal and insolent behavior. You will make good on your promise and marry her!"
Lotor pushed himself up on his arms and narrowed his eyes at the man in front of him. Stopping the woman who was taking care of him, he dismissed her before looking back at the Drule who had interrupted his relaxation session. Losing all pleasantness, he answered, "Tell me Hazar, when did you, or Dorma for that matter, hear a proposal from me?"
"Oh, I don't know..." Hazar's voice drew sarcasm that Lotor didn't miss, "Could it have been almost a month ago when we attended your father's anniversary dinner and you romanced my sister the entire night? Or, maybe it was when you got her pregnant!"
"I may have had a few too many Hazar," Lotor answered unfazed by the latter comment. "Hasn't that ever happened to you?" He stood up and walked over to a cabinet. Opening it, he withdrew a black robe and wrapped it around his body. "Sometimes in celebrations the excitement of it all makes us do crazy things." He walked over to a table that held a couple of glasses and a bottle containing a red looking liquid. Lotor picked up the bottle and poured the liquid onto one of the glasses, "Care for some Arusian wine? It's quite good, a bit of an after taste, but, not a bad one if I may say so myself."
Hazar's lips tightened with rage, "Do you think you can act like some pompous playboy in my presence? I might be just a commander in the Drule Empire, but I doubt your father would grieve or discipline me if I decide to kill you..."
Losing his patience, Lotor asked roughly, "What do you want, Hazar? I don't remember a proposal; therefore, I owe nothing to you or Dorma!"
"You slept with her! You made her yours! She's having your child! My sister doesn't deserve what you did!" Hazar began, "I demand you make things right, Lotor."
Lotor laughed as he walked back to the massage table to sit on it. Staring intently at the commander, he smiled maliciously, "She was a good lay, not the best, but a good one. Unfortunately, I'm not in love with her, so I cannot by any means marry her. And as far as the child is concerned…I'm sure there are ways to solve that problem."
Disdain ripped out of Hazar through his tone, "You bastard!" He lounged at him, but Lotor stopped him. His face turned into fury. Snarling, he grabbed Hazar by the collar and threw him on the floor, "Don't make me kill you right here," Lotor sneered. "I will not marry your stupid sister. Another woman occupies my thoughts and energies."
"The Princess of Arus?" the Drule spit out in between breaths, "Allura of Arus can't stand to look at you!" At this Hazar laughed, "Give it up foolish man, she will never be yours!"
As he listened to Hazar's words, Lotor's rage increased. His fists closed and without warning, he punched Hazar in the mouth, breaking his bottom lip open, "I will never marry Dorma. She is nothing to me and means much less than I even care to tell you." Walking away from the Drule that laid on the floor, he continued, "Allura is mine. She will be my wife and I'll be damned if you ever stop me!" Turning away from Hazar, Lotor walked out of the room leaving Hazar behind.
Watching as Lotor walked away, Hazar whispered to himself, "We'll see about that."
Keith's eyes moved around his surroundings. They were at the town's center; home to small shops, quaint restaurants, and schools. Carefully searching for any hint of danger to Allura as she walked with Liam a few feet ahead of him, Keith sighed inwardly, watching as the pair talked and laughed with one another. He had never been a jealous man, but lately, the feeling kept growing within him and he didn't like it. Between his thoughts, he noticed Lance suddenly walk up next to him, "Can't you end this torture? I mean, how much of Admetus can they possibly see?"
"You know I have no authority to do that," Keith replied sharply without looking at him.
"Then lie," Lance replied just as sharply. "Come on Keith, this is ridiculous. They're not looking at anything, just prancing around like two love birds."
Keith sighed at the analogy, but didn't say anything, "Regardless, we're here to protect them, that is what we are here to do. Doesn't mean we have to like it, Lieutenant."
The second in command snorted at the comment, "Whatever man."
As they continued walking, the couple in the front conversed without looking back. Allura laughed at Liam's latest tale of how he had single-handedly ruined his younger sister's birthday party a few years back, "I can't believe you ruined her cake," Allura told him as she shook her head. "Poor girl."
"It wasn't my fault. I tried to be nice and baked the cake, I couldn't have known the difference between sugar and salt. They look exactly alike," he answered, still laughing.
The two fell silent for a moment before Liam spoke again, "Allura, thank you for this wonderful tour. Arus becomes more beautiful the more I see of it."
Smiling she answered, "It is beautiful. Who would have thought all this was destroyed beyond recognition a few years back?"
"You've done an outstanding job rebuilding."
"Not me," she shook her head, "Keith's really the one who has helped me with the rebuilding. He put irrigation and agricultural plans together for our people."
"Oh?" The prince snorted a bit, "Who would have thought that the captain knew more than just military rhetoric."
Allura smiled again. It always amazed her how so many thought of Keith as this one dimensional man with only the military in his brain. Keith was so much more. Aside from the obvious, he was also an avid writer, a reading buff and a skilled craftsman. A man of many talents, Keith was a godsend when things looked so grim for Arus. Allura would forever be grateful to him, "He's full of surprises," she said as she glanced back to watch both Keith and Lance walking behind. Lance grinned and she smiled. Then, she noticed Keith and the serious look he bore. Her smile dwindling, she wondered what had happened to make him look so somber.
Dorma's eyes followed Hazar as he paced around the room. He had just returned from Doom and had told her what occurred in his meeting with Lotor. Hazar was angry. Lotor had promised months ago to marry Dorma and now he had turned his back on her at the most inopportune time. Dorma was pregnant with Lotor's child and despite what other worlds believed of Doom, a woman, as prominent as Dorma, would be completely humiliated by becoming pregnant and turned away by someone as important as Lotor. If the Doom prince didn't want her, no one would.
"He's in love with the Princess of Arus, Hazar," Dorma began. "His infatuation with her has not ceased since he met her."
The Drule sighed deeply as he turned to his sister, "As long as he's in love with Princess Allura, Lotor will not look at another woman."
"But this is his child!" Dorma exclaimed touching her belly. "If not for me, then for this child!"
"Please Dorma!" Hazar shook his head, unwilling to let his sister know what Lotor had said about the child, "When have you known Lotor to think of anyone but himself?"
Walking up to her brother, she sneered, "I will not be humiliated like this, Hazar! Lotor will marry me and I will not take no for an answer."
"What do you expect me to do?"
"Kill that woman!" Dorma almost shouted, "Kill her!"
"Killing her won't help you, Dorma," Hazar responded, "He will only love her in death. And, if he ever finds out we did it…he will kill us both."
"Then what do you suppose we do?"
Sighing, the Drule responded, "We need to find a way to destroy the image he has of her. The moment he loses that, he'll transfer those feelings he has of her to you and your child." Sitting on a large chair in her room, Hazar continued speaking, "I just don't see a way to do this."
Silent for a long moment, Dorma suddenly turned to her brother with a smile, "I have it."
Looking up at her, he answered, "What?"
"Lotor is in love, not with Allura, but what she represents. He's in love with the fact that she's innocent, pure…a virgin. Maybe she's not, but in Lotor's eyes, that's what she is, a woman untouched by any other man."
"What if she was…tainted in Lotor's eyes? What if she lost all the elements that made her what Lotor loved about her?"
"How do you suppose we do that?" Hazar asked curiously.
Smiling maliciously, the Drule woman answered, "I have a plan."
Sighing deeply, Keith watched Allura smile up at Liam before taking his arm to show him around the town market. As he watched their backs, he continued to follow them discretely. Withholding a grimace, he watched Allura continue to talk to the visiting prince. Keith sighed inwardly, How much more will I be able to put up with?
Glancing at his watch, the captain finally stepped forward, "Princess Allura."
Allura turned toward him and smiled, Keith held his breath. Her beauty was more than enchanting, but that smile was priceless. To Keith it wasn't just her beauty, but what it signified. It was the beauty she had on the inside that reflected outside in that smile.
"What?" her voice brought him back to the present.
"You called me," she told him studying closer, "Are you alright?"
Smiling a bit uneasily, he answered, "I'm fine. It's just time to go."
Taking Liam's hand, she smiled at him, "Well, I guess the tour is over." She looked a bit disappointed when she told him, but smiled when Liam lifted her hand and kissed it gently. At that point, Keith turned around unable to watch the affection between the couple.
"We should go," Liam told her, "The sun will come down soon and I'd rather spend some time with you after dinner. Maybe we can take a stroll in the garden."
"That would be nice," Allura smiled. Turning back to Keith, she called, "Captain, we're ready to go."
Nodding curtly, Keith answered, "I'll get the carriage ready."
Dinner had been anything but pleasant for Keith. Liam had practically out staged Lance with his heroic stories of saving his planets and his troops from the Drule soldiers who had invaded his planet a few years back. Nanny was mesmerized; Coran felt the excitement of the stories and Allura, even though she did not show it, felt compelled by them.
Lance rolled his eyes at the show he was seeing before him, "I'm getting indigestion," he murmured.
"Did you say something?" Pidge asked when he turned to Lance.
"No," Lance said as he took a bite of his meal. Shrugging, Pidge went back to listening to Liam's story. Continuing to study the room, Lance's attention fell on Keith, who played around with the food on his plate, lost in thought, thoroughly ignoring the prince's tale.
When dinner was over, he also noticed how the captain excused himself before dessert was to be served.
"Where are you going?" Lance asked as Keith stood.
"I have a call to the Garrison I have to make," Keith replied seriously.
"Is something wrong?" Allura immediately asked.
"No," Keith shook his head immediately. "Just some forms I need to talk to Garrison about. Everything is fine…I should go," he told the group before leaving too abruptly for Lance's taste.
Seconds later, Nanny walked in with dessert. As she served and everyone regrouped in conversations, Lance continued thinking of his friend, something is wrong, he thought. He was determined to find out what it was.