A Woman Grown

by Tamysan

Part Five

Keith stood there, his face grim and his eyes filled with anger – anger at HER. Allura scrambled for something to cover herself up with while Lotor gallantly shielded her from Keith's angry gaze, unmindful of his own nudity.

"Traitor." Keith said lowly, his eyes locking onto Allura's. "You've betrayed Arus."

"I did not!" Allura clutched her jumpsuit around her.

"Fool..." Lotor smirked at Keith. "Do you really think she'd be betray Arus? You really don't know her do you? Even I know that."

"I haven't screwed her, if that's what you mean." Keith's anger was hot, but his tone was cold.

Allura was instantly on her feet, and with her one free hand she slapped Keith hard in the face.

"Don't you DARE talk like that!" Allura's eyes were stormy. "It was my decision – a NORMAL decision just like anyone else would have. You have no right to judge me!"

Lotor's eyes flickered with admiration.

"I have EVERY right!" Keith bellowed, slamming his fist against the cave wall. "You're – you're supposed to be – "

"What?" Allura asked. "Chaste? A safe little princess that'll never push you into a relationship, is that it? I tried to be more than friends, Keith and you pushed me away saying that I was a Princess and you were a pilot. It didn't matter to me but I guess it did to you."

"So you screwed Lotor, a man that'd betray you and Arus in a minute." Keith's eyes glinted with a hidden malice. "Guess you're nothing but his slut now."

"That's IT! NO ONE speaks to Allura that way!" Lotor suddenly pounced on Keith with a vengeance, his eyes seeing nothing but Keith and his hands wanting only to throttle the life out of the pilot.

"Lotor! Keith! No!" Allura tried pulling them apart but the two men were intent upon the fight and she could not stop them. But wait! Lotor's laser sword! She went over to where it was with his clothing and she took it out of the scabbard.

"Stop!" Allura shouted as she pointed the sword at them.

The two kept at it and she saw Keith aim his weapon at Lotor's chest.

"NO!!" She struck the sword dangerously close to Keith's head and Keith stopped, frozen. Lotor did too when he realized she had his sword. It was dangerous handling it if one didn't know how to work one.

"Stop it now." Tears were streaming down her cheeks. She hadn't regretted what she had done with Lotor, but Keith's reaction – that he had spied upon her and then judged her – it hurt and it sounded the death knell for any affection she had for him. He had wanted a paper doll princess – one that was safe to love from afar. One that he wouldn't have to show his emotions to, save for a scrap here and there. The two men parted and as Keith got up, he glared at her.

"Don't." Allura pointed the sword at Keith while Lotor stood by her side. "I mean it, Keith. How dare you judge me! How – DARE you!" This time Allura was angry and she wasn't going to be a lady or mince words anymore. "You're a cold, unemotional man, you know that? It's always duty with you, never love! I would have laid myself at your feet at one time, but not anymore. I'd rather have one moment with someone who can feel and love than a lifetime with someone like YOU!"

"Words from Lotor's whore." Keith gritted his teeth in anger. Lotor gave him a killing look, but only Allura stopped him.

"Call me that if it makes you feel better, Keith." Allura's eyes were still angry, but they showed deep hurt.

"I'll be resigning my commission from Arus." He said coldly. "It seems you have no need for my protection." Keith shrugged.

"She has ME." Lotor said with a smirk as he pulled her to him. At that instant, Keith raised his hand and fired his weapon at Lotor.

"No!!" Allura flew in front of him and caught some of the fire. Fortunately for her, the laser sword that she had held deflected the blow.

"You bastard!!" Lotor yelled as Allura went down. Keith paled, as he stood there, horrified at what he had done.

"Allura! Allura!" Lotor's eyes were searching her pale face.

"Lotor?" Allura's eyes were slits.

Lotor saw that she had a laser burn – a serious one – on her shoulder. It had come dangerously close to her neck. He had to get her to safety but he could not take her to Doom – it was too far. He'd have to take her to the castle.

"It's all right. I'll take you back to the castle." Lotor said gently, placing a hand on her forehead for a moment. Keith could see in that moment that Lotor's love for Allura was genuine but this did little to soften his heart. Lotor quickly slipped on his pants and basically ignored Keith, who stood mutely. He couldn't go to her, she wasn't the same, HE wasn't the same. He really had loved her but it was as she had said – he loved a chaste fantasy, someone who would not challenge him to crawl out from his own fears. He hated her for being a real woman and he hated Lotor for making her one.

Lotor wrapped her up in his cloak and she groaned as he lifted her up.

"Shhh... " Lotor rocked her just a little and then his eyes blazed out at Keith's.

"If she dies, I shall avenge her with your death, Captain. You can be sure of that." Without a word, Lotor carried her out of the cave, and Keith did not stop him. When he heard the sound of Lotor's cruiser take off, he went to his knees. A wind seemed to howl in the cave and Keith looked up. There was King Alfor, in all his splendor, but his countenance held an anger that Keith had never seen before.

"You – " Alfor said. "You, who I approved to take my daughter's hand – has broken our trust... "

"She broke MINE!" Keith stood up angrily.

The winds whipped around the cave furiously, ruffling Keith's hair.

"No. You hurt her deeply with your indifference!" Alfor's voice roared. "I approved and yet you continued to throw barriers until she gave up! You wounded her much more than she wounded you. She wounded your pride and you wounded her heart! I withdraw my approval this very moment and give it to another. He loves her more than you ever shall and shall give up his very Empire to be with her."

"Lotor... " Keith snarled.

"Hate... " Alfor's eyes blazed out at Keith. "Hate is of the Darker Arts, the side of the evil which you professed to have fought against... "

"Lotor is EVIL!" Keith yelled.

"And even evil can change to good and good to evil... " Alfor intoned. "Begone, Captain Keith. I disavow you." The winds died down and Keith suddenly started to laugh, an edge of something in it that hadn't been there before.

"Fine. Go ahead!" Keith laughed. "Arus is screwed anyway. Your daughter's betrayed Arus!" A gleam came into Keith's eyes as he said, "Betrayed all of the good people of this planet who fought against Zarkon and Lotor. Well, I shall avenge them... yes, I will."

He got up upon his horse and rode like the madman he now was...

Part Six

The klaxon blared at Castle Control and to Coran's alarm, he saw that the approaching ship was unmistakably Prince Lotor's.

Nanny had ran in and gasped. "Oh no! Keith didn't make it to her on time!"

"And the others aren't back yet." Coran's face was grim. They were in trouble now.

"Incoming transmission... " The com beeped and then Coran saw Lotor's face. He didn't look like himself at all. His face was grim and streaked with dirt.

"Castle of Lions, I have your Princess... " Lotor said.

"Oh no... " Nanny looked like she was ready to faint.

"She's injured and so I request to land so that she can get medical care."

"What?" Coran's eyes were wide. Was this a trick? Lotor seemed to be able to read his reactions, for his next words were, "I assure you that this is not a trick. Allura has taken a lazon weapon at close range to her shoulder. Fortunately my sword deflected the blow."

"You monster!" Nanny yelled. "How dare you hurt my baby!"

Lotor's eyes flickered with anger but what Coran noticed mostly was that Lotor looked tired.

"Allow me to land or I'll just land myself." Lotor said simply.

Coran looked at Nanny. "I'll send our Royal Guards out to meet them at the entrance."

"But, but... " Nanny was frightened for Allura.

"It'll be all right. You know that Lotor has never tried to hurt the Princess." Coran said evenly. "Prince Lotor, you're cleared to land at these coordinates. A medical team and guards will be waiting."

Lotor nodded and a few moments later landed his craft. When the medical team finally wheeled Allura in on a stretcher, Nanny rushed to her, sobbing. "Oh my baby!! What has he done to you?"

Lotor followed, flanked by several guards. To Coran's surprise, they had his laser sword and Lotor's hands were shackled.

"He willingly surrendered it to us, sir." The guard said.

Coran raised a brow at Lotor, who shrugged. "My safety isn't the issue here, it's hers."

"Where is Captain Keith? Did you –?" Coran started to ask.

"No, he's not dead, nor is he wounded. He is back at the Painted Caves for all I know." Lotor's eyes were angry. "It was he who wounded the Princess Allura." "What?" Nanny exclaimed, lifting her head. "You're lying!"

"No." Lotor looked at the woman with disdain. "Your Captain tried to kill me – and I was naked and unarmed."

"N – naked?" Nanny's eyes widened as she looked to where Allura was covered with sheet. Her shoulders were bare and her hair was loose. Suddenly she launched herself at Lotor.

"You – rapist!!" She shrieked and Coran had to call the guards to restrain her.

"Did you rape the Princess?" Coran asked, If Lotor did, so help him...

"Why should I answer that? You won't believe the truth." Lotor's eyes were hooded.

"You will tell us, Prince Lotor." Coran said evenly.

"She – asked me to make love to her. There, happy?" Lotor didn't care if they believed it or not.

"Liar!" Nanny shrieked.

"Lotor... " Allura mumbled as everyone turned to look over at her.

"Let me go to her." Lotor's eyes were pleading. "Do with me what you want, but let me go to her."

Coran nodded and Lotor went to her, flanked by two guards. He bent down to where she was half conscious.

"What love?" He asked gently.

She smiled. "Thank you... "

He kissed her forehead. "Just get well." He looked at the medical staff, which had finished adjusting her IVs. "Hurry. Her wound is cauterized, but we all know the effects of lazon pistol fire, don't we?"

The medics gulped at the way Lotor was looking at them and they hurried Allura off to the medical ward. Nanny sobbed as she left and the guards released her and she ran after them. Coran was thankful that she was gone so that he could talk to Lotor alone. Somehow he believed his story, for the way Allura had called for him would not have been the way she would have reacted to a man that had raped her.

"Take his cuffs off." Coran gestured to the guards that flanked Lotor.

"But sir."

"That was an order." Coran said shortly and the guard released Lotor from his restraints.

"Now, if you would please tell me the whole story, Prince Lotor." Coran sat down and offered another seat to Lotor, who looked quite surprised.

"You – believe me?" He sat down.

"Allura would never act that way to a man who did her harm." Coran said simply. "Just tell me the truth of what happened."

Lotor took a deep breath. This man was not like his father. He did not need to cover his words up or play games. He loved Allura and he loved the gift she had given of herself to him. If he never touched her again, he would remember their time together even when he was a doddering old man. But he wanted to touch her again and again, hear her cries, her sighs and feel her body next to his own. He would do anything for her, anything and if this man wanted the truth then he would give it – unvarnished and to the point.

And so he did.

On to Parts 7-8