Worth Savingby Patty
Allura kept up her routine of daily visits. Lotor was hardly talkative; but, at least, he was no longer hostile. Allura would tell him of all the goings on in the castle in a rather futile attempt to cheer him up. Some days she couldn't even tell whether or not he was listening.
One morning, after a particularly tiring practice, Allura walked in and simply collapsed into the chair by the bedside. It seemed no matter how hard she tried it was never good enough for the others, especially Keith. She felt as though they were all disappointed in her.
"Well?" Lotor's voice brought her out of her reverie.
"No amusing anecdotes of castle life today?" He looked at her inquisitively, "Something wrong?"
"I'm just a little frustrated is all. . ."
"Well, that's something I can relate to," he gave a small smile, "pressures of being a princess getting you down?"
"Oh no," Allura shook her head, "It's not that at all. I- I just feel like I'm not living up to everyone's expectations as a Voltron Force member."
"What makes you think that?"
"Well, for one thing, they treat me like I'm totally helpless, and they always seem to be talking down to me."
"Have you told them about this?"
"Of course not," Allura blushed, "I'd be too embarrassed! Besides, they might take it the wrong way and be offended."
"How are they supposed to know that there's a problem unless you say something? Besides," he rolled his eyes, "Keith would probably just say something like 'Gosh, Princess, I didn't even realize-' What's so funny?"
"That's a very good impression," she giggled.
Lotor just shrugged. "It used to be a hobby."
"What," Allura teased, "impersonating Keith?"
"No," Lotor said, taking mock offense, "just doing impressions."
"You're very good at it," she said sincerely, "why did you stop?"
The corner of Lotor's mouth quirked into a small smile "One of the instructors at the Academy caught me at it," the smile faded and his eyes grew cold, "my father broke me of the habit."
"Oh. . . Can you do anyone?"
"Could you do Nanny?"
"Not on your life," he looked genuinely shocked, "with my luck, she'd walk in here, and then my stay would be even more miserable!"
Allura changed the subject. "So, when are they going to start letting you walk on that knee? I know how much you want to be up and moving around."
"Tomorrow." She had thought this would cheer him up; but, for some reason, he seemed suddenly more sullen.
Could he not want to recover? The thought disturbed Allura. It must be because he knows that as soon as he's recovered, he'll have to go back to Doom. Or maybe he's only worried because they haven't asked about him, yet.
"Allura," his voice broke into her thoughts, "I'd like to rest now, if you don't mind."
"Of course," as she rose he turned to the wall, "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Hey, Sunshine," Lance waved a printout in front of Lotor's face, "we just got a transmission about you. Koran thought you should see a copy."
"Joy. Who's it from?"
Lance had been expecting some kind of reaction to the sunshine jibe, and he was surprised that it was completely ignored. He grudgingly handed over the paper.
"It's from Galaxy Garrison."
It has come to our attention that the Prince of Doom is being held on Arus, pending recovery from injury Upon full recovery, he is to be turned over to the proper authorities for trial and sentencing.
Lotor stared at the piece of paper in his hand. He showed no external response whatsoever, his face remained totally impassive. Inside his head, however, he was still trying to come to grips with the information.
The past few days had been horrible. The first day it was all he could do to just stand. He could now make it to the door and back- but only with help. Now this.
"Well, uh," Lance turned to leave, Lotor the statue was a bit unnerving, "I guess I'll just go ahead and leave. . ." No response. He shuddered involuntarily- had the room gotten colder? He turned to see Lotor staring straight at him.
"Leaving? So soon?" Lotor's voice was flat, emotionless. His eyes told a far different story- they were full of despair.
Lance shuddered again. He wanted to just turn and walk out; after all, he didn't owe Lotor anything. What did he care if Lotor was depressed and didn't want to be left alone? Instead, he found himself walking back over and sitting in the chair.
"You play cards?"
Gratitude flashed briefly across Lotor's face and he smiled slightly. "Which game?"
Allura was surprised to find Lance in the room when she stopped by.
"No way," he was saying, "you've got to be cheating somehow!"
"I am not," Lotor insisted. "You're just having a string of bad luck."
"What are you playing?" Both men jumped at the sound of Allura's voice.
"Five card draw. Hey," Lance stood up, gathering his cards, "as long as you're here, I should go check in at Castle Control. Later, cheater."
Lotor smiled and shook his head. "Thanks anyway, sore loser."
Allura sat in the vacated chair. "So, have you heard?"
Lotor held up the sheet of paper. Allura sighed. It just didn't seem right to her. He shouldn't have to face trial so soon after his recovery! She wished there was something she could do. The only option she could think of was granting him amnesty; but, what if he refused? She could only help him if he let her, and she knew he was very proud.
"You know what will happen, don't you?" He interrupted her, but she did not reprimand him because of the pain in his eyes. "After they convict me? I'd hope for a death sentence, but it's highly unlikely. Instead, they'll put me behind bars in a maximum security prison somewhere for the rest of my life. That will kill me, too- only much slower.
"I've always hated being confined. Walls chafe at me after a while. The thought that I may be confined to a single cell until I die is very unappealing. A slow and lingering death is something I'd really rather not experience."
Allura was silent for a few moments. What could she possibly say to him that might convince him that all hope was not lost? She was about to respond, when she heard a voice from behind her.
"Allura," Keith poked his head in the door, "you're needed in the control room."
"Of course," she rose and turned to go, then paused, "I'm very sorry, Lotor. We'll work this out later, I promise."
As soon as she was out of the room, Lotor sighed. "Will we?"
"Zarkon!" Allura scowled at the face on the view screen. "What do you want? Is this about Lotor?"
"Why should I further concern myself with that useless whelp?" Zarkon sneered at the princess. "I'm calling in regards to your planet giving up its foolish resistance!"
Allura was taken aback. "Don't you even care how he's doing? He's your own SON!"
"That idiot ruined mission after mission that should have been fool-proof! If you're so concerned about his well-being, you can keep him! In the meantime, I've had Hagar send you a little gift. Mua ha ha ha!" The screen went blank.
"A gift from Hagar can only mean one thing," Keith frowned.
"Yeah," Hunk agreed, "a robeast!"
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, the castle shook violently. Koran pulled a shot of the castle exterior up on the view screen. Not one, but two robeasts were attacking from either side. The robeasts were mirror images of each other, but opposite in color. One was orange and the other blue.
"All right, team," (Author's Note: Forgive me, but he had to say it at least once, right?) Keith said, "let's go!"
The Voltron Force had no choice but to fight as the five lions. It would be impossible to fight a battle on two fronts as Voltron. Black Lion and Blue Lion took on the orange beast while the other three attacked the blue one.
"Hey, Keith," Lance's frazzled voice came over the com, "I hate to be the bearer of bad news; but, we're getting nowhere!"
"I know, Lance, but we have to keep trying! Has Hunk run any scans on these things?"
"He's run every single one! Nothing! We can't seem to hit it with anything!"
Just then, Allura fired a stingray missile that appeared to hit the robeast's arm. The monster continued attacking unfazed; but, Pidge's excited voice interrupted Allura's disappointment.
"Hey! Look! It's holding its arm! Did one of you guys get it?"
"It wasn't me. . ." Hunk sounded confused.
Inspiration struck Allura.
"Hey, guys? I don't think we can injure either robeast directly. When we think we've hit one, the damage appears on the other!"
"Great," Hunk cheered, "so, if we destroy one, we get the other one, too, right?"
"Not exactly," Pidge mused, "I think that means we'd have to destroy both of them at the same time! If we destroy only one, we have no way of hurting the one that's left!"
"How're we supposed to do that?" Lance dodged a swipe from the robeast's claws.
"Hmm," Keith pondered the problem, "I think I have an idea! Everybody group between the robeasts."
As the lions huddled in a small group, the robeasts began lumbering toward them, threatening to sandwich them.
"They're big and strong," Keith explained, "but not too bright. When I give the signal, everybody scatter!"
The orange robeast roared and began to charge and the blue robeast followed suit. Both were so intent upon the destruction of their targets, neither one paid any attention to the other.
"Steady. . ." Keith cautioned, "wait for it. . . NOW!"
The lions flew every which way as the robeasts slammed into each other with a deafening crash. The robeasts had impaled each other on their long vicious claws. They shuddered for a moment and then exploded in a ball of flame.
"Good job, everybody," Keith smiled, "let's all get back to the castle."
"Keith," Allura asked as they left the control room, "how did Galaxy Garrison find out about Lotor?"
"I told them in my report," he said nonchalantly, "why?"
"It's one of my duties as Captain," he explained.
"Do you have any idea what you've done? Do you know how that dispatch we received has affected him?"
"He may be close to recovering physically, but he's in no shape to be put on trial!"
Keith was beginning to get angry now, too. He hadn't done anything wrong! He had just done what he was supposed to do, played it by the book.
"Why should I care about his mental state? The man's a murderer and a criminal, and justice needs to be carried out!"
"He wouldn't make any exceptions for any of us and you know it! This is what most people would call poetic justice!"
Allura opened her mouth as if to say something, then hurriedly closed it again and stalked of down the hallway toward the infirmary. He heard the door slam, and then a moment later she ran back out into the hallway. Her face was very pale.
"Keith, Lotor's missing!"
Everyone split up to search the castle. Keith was certain that it was an escape attempt, but Allura had a nagging feeling that Lotor had not gotten very far. She began searching the conference room along the hallway near the infirmary.
She almost passed up the third room completely; but, a small movement in the corner of her vision stopped her. She flicked on the overhead light and gasped.
Lotor was standing in the middle of the room, leaning heavily on the table. He looked very weak, and his face was pale and drawn. A laser pistol was clutched in his right hand.
"Lotor," Allura said quietly, "what are you doing?"
He began to raise the weapon and Allura gasped. He smiled slightly, but it never reached his eyes.
"Don't worry, princess, I'm not going to use it on you."
"You can't mean-"
"Can't I?" His eyes glinted coldly. "I'd rather choose my own demise, than let Galaxy Garrison take away all my options."
"Lotor," she racked her brain for something, anything to stall him.
"It's yours, you know," he said softly, gazing at the pistol in his hand. "I took it from you earlier, in the infirmary."
Allura reached for her weapon instinctively, and found nothing but an empty holster.
"Rather fitting," he continued, "don't you think?"
"Lotor, please," she said, desperately, "you don't have to do this! I can grant you amnesty on Arus! You could change, prove to everyone that you're not all bad! "I've seen your other side!"
"Do you really believe that?" His expression softened and their eyes locked. "Do you really believe I could change?"
"I was taught that everyone deserves a second-"
"I don't care what you were taught!" His voice was full of anguish. "I want to know if you BELIEVE it! I don't think I'm strong enough to start all over again! Maybe, if I had someone who believed in me, I could find the courage to try; so, I'm asking you, Allura, do you believe I could change?"
Allura wanted to say yes, right off. Of course he could change! She just couldn't bring herself to say it without knowing if he meant what he said. She looked deep into his eyes and sorted through the emotions there. She saw pain and self-loathing, and something else. What was that emotion lurking in the back?
Fear. It was fear! Allura realized that Lotor was very afraid- of himself! He feared that it was too late, that he wouldn't be able to change the monster he had become.
"Yes," she said it so quietly, she wasn't certain he had heard. Then the gun fell from limp fingers and he collapsed to the floor. Tears streamed down his cheeks, and he shook violently. Allura rushed over and held him in her arms. He continued to sob as though his heart were breaking; but, Allura knew that quite the opposite was happening- it was healing.
"Oh, Lotor," she said softly, "it's never too late."
When Keith found them several hours later, they were both asleep. Allura sitting with her back against the wall, and Lotor leaning on her shoulder, with her arm around him. He turned off the light, closed the door, and went to call off the search.The End