Black and Blue
Black and Blue

Dr. Gorma studied the healing surgical wound on the princess's leg. Satisfied that there was no sign of infection, he covered the exposed wound with a new bandage. Rubbing his chin thoughtfully, the doctor turned to his eager patient.

"Well, Your Highness, I believe you may get out of bed today. Yet, you must not put any weight on your injured leg, not this soon. I'm afraid you are confined to your bed, your wheelchair, or a chair."

"Thank you, Dr. Gorma," Allura replied gratefully. "This is great. When can I use crutches?"

"We will explore that option later, Your Highness. Your leg is healing well, but you cannot use that leg too quickly. You must allow yourself adequate time to heal or you will cause greater damage."

The princess nodded, allowing the stern warning to sink in with its implications. 'At least I'm not completely confined to bed anymore,' she thought happily.

"Thank you, Dr. Gorma," Coran said. "Your Highness, if you excuse us."

"Yes, thank you again." Dr. Gorma nodded and led Coran out of the room.

Allura turned to Nanny. "It's great news, Nanny. I am no longer confined to bed."

"Yes, Princess, it is, but do be careful. You mustn't aggravate your injury. Well, you have visitors, Princess, and I must see to the kitchen."

"Okay, Nanny. Please, send my guests in."

Keith and Sven soon appeared after Nanny's departure. The two bowed and took two chairs by the princess' bed.

"How are you doing today, Princess?" Sven asked.

"Very good, Sven," Allura beamed. "Dr. Gorma said I could sit a chair if I don't put any weight on my leg."

"That's good news, Princess," Keith said.

"How did the battle go yesterday?" inquired Allura. While she knew that the team had won, she had learned very few details. Keith and Sven exchanged glances, but it was Keith who answered.

"It went well, Princess. It wasn't one of Hagar's best robeasts. Voltron has able to finish it in record time."

"I'm glad to hear that." She paused, thoughtfully looking at the chair next to Keith and Sven. "Forgive me for asking, but could one of you help me into that chair?"

Being closer, Keith rose and approached the princess. Allura carefully swung her legs over the edge of the bed, placing her feet on the floor. Using Keith's shoulder as a form of support, Allura slowly made her way to the chair and sat down. After making sure the princess was comfortable, Keith returned to his seat.

Allura returned to their conversation. She concentrated on what the two men were saying, trying to force the pain to the back of her mind. Her left side, on which she had landed during the battle, was a wall of bruises that included two cracked ribs. Her back also complained of its new, completely up-right position. The princess was also aware, as of that morning, that the left side of her jaw and her right cheek boasted bruises from battle.

She was a sea of black and blue. She had suffered numerous jammed knuckles, cracked ribs, and a black eye from her training, especially sparring with Keith. Pain was becoming a familiar friend.

Someone knocked on the door, pulling Allura from her thoughts. After permission was given, a servant appeared with a white oblong box tied with a blue ribbon. The boy bowed and presented the box to the princess. When the gift rested on her lap, the servant boy bowed again and left.

Noticing no card, Allura untied the blue ribbon and lifted the lid. Inside the box was a bouquet of black and blue roses. Smiling at the joke, Allura picked up the card. Her smile faded as she saw the note written in Lotor's handwriting.

Unable to read the note, she threw the box off her lap unto the floor in front of her feet. Keith and Sven jumped from their chairs, surprised by her reaction to the gift. Shaking, Allura rubbed her arms. The room had suddenly become ice cold.

Keith squatted by the over-turned roses, gently searching for the note that had distressed the princess so much. Briefly reading it, Keith looked up at Sven. The look Sven received spoke volumes. Things had suddenly become worse.

"Damn," Keith swore, rising to his feet. "Sven, go find the servant that brought that box in here."

Nodding and already half way across the room, Sven silently left in search of the boy.

Keith turned to Allura, who was still rubbing her arms. Seeing the accustomed mask of impassiveness, Allura felt even more depressed.

"He knows," she said evenly, desperately trying to maintain calm.

Keith sighed. "Yes, he knows."

"But how? How could he know this soon?"

"It must have been Sven's fighting style, the way he handles the blue lion. Every pilot is different, Princess, and those differences do show."

"So he knows that Sven is flying the blue lion instead of me. He has reasoned it out that I am injured, or he may even know how I am injured. I am vulnerable now. He can strike at any moment and there is nothing I could do about it."

"Stop it, Princess. Of course there is something you could do about it. We'll just increase security. Now that you are mobile, Princess, it just means that you can't go off by yourself, especially to the grounds."

"Either way I am a prisoner," she murmured.

"No." Keith grabbed her shoulders, forcing the princess to face him. "No, Allura, you're not a prisoner. I swear to you I'll die before I allow him to even touch you."

Allura's eyes grew wide at the oath's gravity and the serious man who gave it. She shook her head to clear her thoughts. She gave a weak smile.

"I'm sorry, Keith. Of course, I'm not a prisoner. I just have to be careful, and I know you and the team will protect me. You always have."

"And we always will, Princess. I promise you."

Allura nodded. His hands were still on her shoulders. She shivered, not knowing whether it was because of Keith or because of Lotor.

Keith released her. "Do you need a blanket, Princess?"

"No, I'll be fine in a minute. I would like to return to my bed though."

Keith rose and noticed the thorny roses near the Princess's feet. Gesturing to the roses, Keith simply said, "If you don't mind, I will just carry you."

Nodding, Allura allowed the captain to scoop her in his arms. She could tell that he was taking special care not to jar her injured leg. With her arms around his neck, leaning against his chest, Allura felt safe. Gently placing her in the bed, Keith covered her back up. He was about to say something when Sven reappeared.

Nodding to Sven, Keith faced the princess. "I would like to see into this matter, if I may, Princess?"

"Please let me know of your results, Keith."

"I will, Princess."

Keith and Sven bowed, leaving the princess alone in her room. Still cold, Allura pulled the blankets to her chin in a desperate effort to feel warm. As she gradually began to feel warm again, the princess drifted off to sleep. Yet, one thought plagued her dreams. Would there ever be peace?