[in the Castle of Lions]
*I'm so tired. Why do I do this to myself?* Keith rubs his temples as he sits, leaning back against the door of his room. *I pretty much _let_ myself be captured. It wouldn't have been so bad, if Lotor hadn't decided to come and gloat in person. Damnit! _How_ can I be attracted to someone like _that_? Besides, of course, the fact that he's tall with long hair, yellow eyes, and a one incredible body...* Keith sighs, and slouches down further. *Even his behavior can barely dim the attraction. In every taunt, every gesture, I can see where Zarkon twisted and tried to break him. I can see how he learned to hide his most vulnerable parts deep within. I want to show him how being vulnerable can make you strong... It's never going to happen. He wants the Princess.* Keith shakes his head, and blows out a breath, hard. *At least _he_ isn't completely off limits. At least, sometimes, I can imagine that he feels the same. Unlike...* Keith cuts himself off and closes his eyes. Takes a deep breath. Then levers himself off the floor, face carefully blank, and crawls into bed.
[on Planet Doom]
*Another day, another failed plan...* Lotor sighs in disgust. *Of course, at least this time, I captured the great Captain of the Voltron Force... I wonder what he'd think of me, if he knew that _he_ draws me more than that Princess of his...* Lotor snorts. *Women have their own beauty and strength; Loki knows that the Princess has both in abundance. But there is something about having a strong man submit that feels so much more powerful than when a woman gives... When a woman gives, it feels like she takes you, but when a man offers, you're taking him... I wish... But despite what Father thinks of me, I'm not so foolish as to believe it was possible.* Lotor frowns darkly as his thoughts turn to his father. *How can he have so little belief in me? I conquered hundreds of planets before Arus -- how can he actually believe that this one small planet, half-broken, could really stand against me, if I truly desired to take it? No matter what sort of outdated guardian it has... I do wonder what Haggar's reasoning is... From what I've seen of magic, she has more than enough to be able to deal with five unmagical humans and a rather idiotic ghost... Whatever her reasons, they have helped me. As has this belief of my Father in my failure, but it still hurts...* Lotor sighs. *I made my choice. Seeing him in action is worth losing face in Father's eyes. Especially since I never was good enough for Father anyway...* Lotor tosses back a drink, and loses himself in the hypnotic swaying of his harem.
[a few weeks later, on a Doom ship]
*Captured again. Because of the Princess, again. Figures. I wish the she'd stop running off by herself. You'd think that she'd have learned by now not to do things like this... You'd also think, that if the ghost she sees really _is_ King Alfor, her father, he'd stop inciting her to put herself in danger.. But what do I know? I'm just a common pilot...* Keith grumbles. *At least this time I managed to keep anyone else from being captured. And I'm actually tied up pretty good -- Lotor must have been making some improvements to his robots, for them to take such precautions.* Keith sighs. *Maybe it'll be interesting this time. Maybe there'll be a new twist to the same old -- get-captured-Lotor-taunts-get-free-Lotor-throws-threats-as-he-flees scenario...* Lotor saunters into the cell, alone. *Then again, maybe not. Looks like this is going to be a standard gloating scene... He does look good... Gotta think about business, now..* Keith sighs, quietly, and starts to think up suitably defiant and pompous remarks...
“Well, Keith..” Lotor watches in satisfaction as Keith twitches in surprise at his given name. “You don't seem to be picking up my hints.” Lotor's wicked grin widens further. *Now, or never. The hunt has been good, but now I want certainty...* “Since I have you alone in my power, I believe I will be direct -- and find out for sure, one way or another...” *We've been dancing around one another for so long. Sometimes I'm sure he feels the attraction, other times, all I can see in his eyes is the Princess...*
Keith's eyes widen in shock as Lotor stoops down swiftly, and belying his sharp movements, bestows the lightest, gentlest kiss on his lips that Keith has ever received. Stunned, he freezes in place, not responding one way or the other, unable to even think for a moment.
Lotor, now crouched around Keith, most carefully _not_ touching, hovers a few breaths away. “Well?” A touch of uncertainty hides deep in Lotor's eyes; his voice is soft, and an almost scared pitch is buried in the arrogance.
Keith, still in shock from the lust he can see in Lotor's eyes, can only lick his lips and stare back at Lotor. *Directed at _me_. Gods, its been so long since I've seen just that look directed toward _me_... Get a hold of yourself! This is _Lotor_ you give in to him, and he'll have a weapon against you... the team... It could go both ways, but still... This time, I think I'm safe. I think he really wants *me*.... But do I have the right take the chance, with so many others depending on me?*
Lotor, watching the conflict in Keith's eyes, feels his bravado start to slip. *Damnit, react! One way or the other. I do care, but now I want to _know_... I guess I'm living down to Father's expectations... I'm so far gone, I don't even care _what_ he's calculating behind those big eyes of his...*
*A piece of paradise handed to me, and I'm thinking of giving it up? For a team and a planet that doesn't listen to me, and a duty to a government that can barely bestir itself to aid us? I will take what I can have, and find comfort in it... If he lets me, I think I can love him, even if I don't burn at his touch the way I do for Lance...* Determination in his eyes, Keith leans forward that last small bit, and gently kisses Lotor back.
*This feels so much better than I even imagined...* Lotor deepens the kiss, and absent-mindedly unties Keith. Their limbs entwine, and they slide to the ground, still kissing.
The door suddenly bangs open. Lance, Allura, Pidge and Hunk fly through the door and take up battle stances.
"What the --" *I don't believe this! Keith's... Keith's.. He's _kissing_ Lotor. Passionately! Willingly.. He's not tied up... How could he _do_ that? Why doesn't he want to do that with _me_?* Lance's eyes widen in shock and dismay.
Allura pales. She stands immobilized as the two she thought of as _her_ courtiers seem perfectly happy with each other rather than her...
Relaxing, Hunk just shakes his head. “Keith, only you. Why do your boyfriends always think they need to display death and destruction to impress you?”
Lance reels in shock. “What? Hunk!”
Puzzled, Pidge asks, “You mean, you didn't know? There was that ambassador from the Krshan, who first tried to impress Keith by destroying half the academy. I mean, he did eventually realize the best way to go about winning Keith was negotiating the peace between the warring fractions of his planet and bringing it into the Alliance.. But there was also --”
Keith, his head buried in Lotor's shoulder, shoots a muffled, “We _don't_ have to go into the details of my love life, ok?”
Lotor, shaking in laughter, snickers, “So, I was just the most recent in a long line of --”
Keith finally lifts his head, and pulls himself out of Lotor's embrace -- with one last stroke to Lotor's chest, the lingering touch silencing Lotor. “I don't see why people always think violence impresses me... I'd better fix whatever it is... And I guess we'd better go.”
Lotor sits up, shadowing Keith's every move. “Instead of going through the bother of changing yourself, you ought to stick with me.” A hesitant smile and wistful look on his face are a sharp contrast to the arrogance of his words, seeming to ask silently, *May I come with you?*.
Keith smiles in delight. “You're right. You'll just have to come along, and help keep others away.” His eyes glitter. “As long as you behave yourself, of course.”
Lotor's smile takes on a wicked edge. “Of course.”
Lance sputters, “Just like that?”
Allura, regaining her tongue, chimes in, “You're just going to let Lotor into the castle? Just because the two of you kiss, doesn't mean that we can trust --”
Interrupting, Pidge sighs. “Forget it, Princess. Keith knows what he's doing. Of all the officers in the Alliance that I know, Keith is the only one with a completely spotless record when it comes to lovers. They may have absolutely horrible reputations. But while -- and after -- they're with Keith, they show their redeeming qualities...”
Startled, Allura and Lance just look at Keith.
Keith uncomfortably shrugs. “Magic runs in my family. Everyone of us has a gift. It's nothing we can control, just something we are. Mine happens to be that I will never be betrayed by a lover.”
Lotor, his hand wrapped around Keith's, snickers. “So that's what my problem was. Though it still doesn't explain Haggar's restraint... At least, I hope not.”
Choking, Keith glares at Lotor.
Pidge blinks. “What do you mean?” Blanching, he hastily retreats. “_Not_ the last bit. What do you mean by Haggar's restraint?”
Smirking at Pidge's reactions, Lotor shrugs. “Haggar is the most powerful witch I have ever met. I don't understand why she didn't just blast Voltron to microscopic pieces, instead of the five lions. No offense, but while Voltron is well made, he isn't _that_ well made.”
Allura starts spluttering in the background.
Keith looks even more uncomfortable. “Um. Well. About that... She's an aunt of sorts. It's been her turn to play evil sorceress for the past few hundred years. I imagine that after the first fifty years, she got bored, and decided to create a worthy opponent.. That's why I volunteered for this mission -- defeating Voltron was becoming too easy. With me here, her last twenty or so years as an evil sorceress would have been more interesting. I can surprise her, and she has to calculate the strength of her robeasts more exactly, so as to lessen the chance that she'll destroy my soul -- and have to answer to my Line...”
The other people in the room just stare at Keith. Lotor starts laughing hysterically. “So this whole war is just a way for a bored immortal magic wielders to enact the last fifty years of their being evil or good?” Lance, Hunk, and Pidge join in.
Allura looks immensely affronted and horrified. “My people _died_ for a _game_?!?!?”
A cackling laugh interrupts Keith before he can respond. “Pretty much. But since all the principles know, I guess we can just call a truce.” Haggar stands in the doorway. Despite her casual tone, she glares at Keith.
Instinctively, Lotor tries to step in between them but Keith slides around him, and confronts Haggar. Lifting his eyebrow, he says dryly, “You're even more tired of all this than I am. You _have_ been doing it for longer. Both you and Zarkon certainly seem to be tired of the masks you wear.”
“Huh. Are you sure you're not a wizard? _You_ seem to have more than one gift.” Haggar peers closely at Keith.
He snorts. “I was tested. I've just got the one. The two of you are just so used to using your magic, you don't believe that anyone can see through you if they don't have magic of their own. Sometimes, you forget to stoop. And a couple of times, you were in a rush, and forgot to form your nose -- congrats by the way, it's _very_ impressive -- properly. And Zarkon is even worse -- sometimes he seems to have problems remembering what the shape of his skull is supposed to be, or how his ears are formed.”
Haggar blinks, and then starts to laugh -- a clear joyful sound. “All right, then. A truce. The lot of you go off and enjoy yourselves.” Her cloak falls away, and a normal, middle aged woman stands before them. Not gorgeous, not ugly, almost nondescript enough to fade into the background, if it weren't for her ageless eyes. And the lecherous grin on her face. “Zarkon and I can occupy ourselves...”
“Wait!” Lotor, a blank mask on his face, asks, “If Father isn't really ... how I know him... Why did he act like that?”
Haggar, her face clouding now with sorrow, sighs. “Bad luck. We're partners, he and I. It was my turn to be the evil witch, and his turn to be a magicless leader. Because we're partners, we always go together, whatever the stipulations are, so we're both either ‘good’ or ‘evil’ or in between. This time, we were evil. You... you were a happy mistake.” Lotor recoils in shock. Haggar waits for him to recover, and then continues. “I'd given up on children -- most immortals don't ever have any --”
Keith mutters, “For which mortals are eternally grateful”
Haggar glares at Keith. Keith just raises his eyebrow, insolently. The by-play between them gives Lotor time to recover, and he tighten his hands around Keith's, receiving wordless reassurance.
Haggar continues. “At any rate, when you were born, we still had a long time as evil tyrants. And evil tyrants don't treat children nicely, especially not their own. I'm truly sorry. We did our best for you, sending you away to be reared by some of our family that were at least in between good and evil.”
“Excuse me! If this is all just a game--” Allura angrily begins to protest, finally recovering somewhat from her shock and horror.
Keith shakes his head sternly, suddenly acquiring an aura of ageless wisdom that silences Allura. “None of that, now, your Highness. This ‘game’ is in place for a reason. Familial records tell of a time when the immortal magic wielders didn't ‘play’. Without this turn and turn about, the immortals lost understanding. Without understanding, they almost tore the galaxy apart. As for the mortals’ role -- without the winnowing from the immortals' ‘game,’ we mortals would would also lose the understanding of the choice between light, dark, and all the colors in between. Because of our relatively short life span, we would lose that understanding even faster than the immortals.” Shivering slightly, eyes on some distant view that no one else can see, Keith moves deeper into Lotor's embrace.
“Right now, I judge that it is safe for Haggar and Zarkon to give up their game. Their time is almost up and they _know_ evil -- I can feel it. So they can just use this time to rest between turns, and catch up with what's going on in the family. And, on the mortal side of things, several generations have now grown up in a war between light and dark. Even our short life spans won't forget the message before the next cycle begins.” Lotor buries his face in Keith's hair, hiding the dawning fear of Keith's mortality. For a moment, Keith turns his attention completely to Lotor, humming softly and soothingly. Reluctantly, once Lotor is calmer, Keith turns his attention back to the others. “To sum it up, we can all relax. Now, can the rest of this wait until we're _out_ of the cell?”
Lotor pulls himself away from Keith, with a lingering look, to speak quietly with Haggar as they all leave the cell.
Lance pulls Keith to the side. “If Lotor's immortal, even though he isn't evil, won't that just cause trouble later on?”
Keith flicks a sideways look at Lance. “It's none of your business.” Lance recoils, hurt in his eyes. Keith relents. “I know that I'll have had his heart first. That is enough for me.” Keith pulls away from Lance and catches up with Lotor.
For a moment, Lance stands, stunned and alone in the cell. His eyes shut in despair. *I wish...*