Of all the ways Lotor could have spent his night, watching over a love sick Drule was certainly the strangest of experiences. And one he had no previous experience with, leaving Lotor uncertain over the things he was saying. Not that Sabbath was listening very much to him, the Drule seemed in a world of his own, pacing agitatedly the length of the guest room.
Lotor stood watching him, his position against the bedroom’s door not at all subtle in the way he was guarding it from Sabbath’s attempts to flee. Sabbath was determined to return to Romelle’s side, he kept muttering things about his rightful place, and how the girl was in need of him.
“I should be with her, not that woman.” Sabbath was mumbling, shuffling back and forth across the carpet. “It should be me who’s comforting her! No one else!”
“You’ll only upset her if you go to her now…” Lotor spoke up, and that earned an annoyed look from Sabbath. “It’s true.” He insisted, but then Sabbath was turning his back to him once more.
“Need to be with her…need to go back….need to touch her…” Lotor was glad he had never vocalized his thoughts in this matter where Allura was concerned. He was sure she would have thought him a stark raving maniac, and would have run all the faster from him. “Skin so soft…so sweet smelling…I bet she smells good all over..” Sabbath continued to mutter, seeming to not care that Lotor was listening to all this.
Lotor was getting the feeling they could both use a stiff drink, and yet he was worried how much uncontrollable Sabbath would become if drunk. Already the blue skinned Drule was wild eyed and agitated, and Lotor wondered how they had kept from being arrested by Sergeant Dupree and her men. Lotor had given them a curt answer to their questioning looks, telling them he had the situation under control, and that Allura herself had issued a royal decree that no Drule was to be tossed into the dungeons.
Sergeant Dupree had given him a doubtful look at that, and flat out told him she would be taking up an argument with Allura over her decision to spare Sabbath from being arrested. Lotor wanted to be present for that discussion, to lend Allura his support, but right now he had his hands full keeping Sabbath under lock and key.
“She has such cute toes…” Sabbath suddenly said, and that almost made Lotor snort. “Little and pink, and oh so suckable.” Lotor said nothing to this, though inwardly he was wondering if Sabbath had a foot fetish. If he did, it wasn’t the worst of kinks to have, certainly more harmless than some of the things certain Drules liked to
“Just wanted to smell her hair…” Sabbath continued, pacing over to the window now. He stood staring out for so long, Lotor wondered if he was contemplating breaking it, to get to Romelle. “Why won’t she let me do those things…?! Why…”
“It’s too soon for you two..” Lotor said, and Sabbath made a rude sound in return.
“Not soon enough! Waited all day for her….waited for my chance to get close to her…” He was touching the window, fingers pressing to the glass and Lotor was instantly on alert. “She was surrounded by so many guards in the woods…too many for me to fight…If there had only been a handful, I could have taken them….taken her…”
“And then what would you have done?” Lotor demanded. “You know it would have been too dangerous to bring her back to the warships. Not with Morduck salivating for the chance to torture one of the royals of this planet.” Silence from Sabbath, and Lotor pressed the issue. “You know I speak the truth.”
“Would have found a way…” muttered Sabbath. “Would have found somewhere safe…”
He sounded almost defiant as he said that, as though Sabbath was trying to convince himself of that too. Lotor sighed, and began walking towards the Drule, wondering if he had been this agitated when Allura was constantly rejecting him with her every word. He knew he had been a mess, but he hated to think he had been this bad a case as Sabbath was.
“You wouldn’t have…” Lotor began, and his eyes widened as Sabbath jerked open the window. “The planet is on the verge of war!” Lotor shouted, lunging the last few feet to the window. Sabbath was already on the sill, about to step down on the ledge when Lotor grabbed him, hauling his struggling form back into the room. Sabbath outweighed him by twenty pounds, but somehow Lotor managed to stagger back and drag the Drule away from the window.
“Let me go!” Sabbath was growling, and he turned to throw a fist at Lotor. The prince not only caught it with his hand, he squeezed his fingers down hard on the first, with enough force to make a cracking sound. Sabbath yelped, and his arm lost it’s tension, and only then did Lotor shove him towards an empty chair.
“SIT!” he snapped out an order, and Sabbath half fell into the chair.
“But I need to be with her!” he protested, and lifted his hands up to his face. For a second Lotor feared the Drule was about to break down in tears, and the prince didn’t know how he would handle a sobbing Sabbath. But instead of crying, the Drule just clutched at the braided black hair by his temples, moaning a low sound. “Romelle…”
“You’re not helping your situation with this kind of behavior!” Lotor hissed, standing in front of the seated Sabbath with his hands on his hips. “You’ll only continue to frighten her, and if you return to her side right now, I have no doubt you’ll be arrested, my mate Allura’s orders be damned!”
“I don’t mean to frighten her!” Sabbath cried out in protest, still pulling at his hair.
“But that’s what you’re doing!” Lotor retorted. “Sabbath, think for a second. Humans, especially their females, don’t take kindly to strangers in their bedroom. Imagine how Romelle must have felt, waking up to the sight of you, a strange man, hovering above her!”
Sabbath appeared to be struggling with that idea, muttering under his breath. “I am not a strange man…I am her mate.”
“To Romelle and the people of the castle you are nothing more than a stranger. Add to it, you are a Drule…a fact that won’t earn you many friends around here.” Lotor sighed, thinking how save for Allura and perhaps Captain Darius, he hadn’t forged any good relationships since arriving at the castle of lions. “You won’t just have to win over Romelle, you’ll have to prove yourself to the people around you.”
“I don’t see why!” Sabbath exclaimed, and Lotor sighed.
“I know you’re not exactly thinking clearly, but do try.” He took the chair opposite Sabbath, but was poised for action in case the other Drule made a move towards the window. “She’s not just your mate, she’s a princess of these people. To her, their opinions surely matter. She will be hesitant to be with you if you can’t get along with her people.”
“That won’t be a problem if we live on Doom.” Sabbath answered, and Lotor nearly laughed at that.
“You think she will willingly give up her kingdom for you?” Silence was his answer, Lotor turning to eye Sabbath. He looked distressed by Lotor’s words, as though he hadn’t considered Romelle not wanting what he wanted. “Sabbath, just what is your position in the Drule Empire? I know you are soldier, but do you have any rank beyond that? Any land to your name, or a title?”
“No….” Sabbath shook his head, face seeming to crumple with each question Lotor asked. “I don’t have any of that….I…If I wasn’t a soldier, I wouldn’t even have money to my name.”
“I’m sorry. But the truth of the matter is she won’t want to go to Doom.” He gave a self deprecating smile. “I myself am a prince…or was one at any rate. And even that wasn’t enough to sway my mate Allura into leaving behind Arus for Doom. Not even the promises of riches and desires fulfilled could tempt her to abandon her kingdom.”
“So you’re saying it’s hopeless for me?” Sabbath’s shoulders sagged even further, the Drule gloomy.
“No. Not quite. You see Sabbath…” Lotor said, and paused for effect. “You have to come around to a new way of thinking…”
“A new way?” Sabbath echoed, and Lotor nodding, gesturing for the Drule to lean forward.. He did so, the two Drules leaning towards each other as though they were about to whisper out a strategy.
“You have to start looking at Arus with the potential to be your new home.” Lotor explained, and Sabbath looked surprised at that. That made Lotor laugh, the prince amused. “Why so surprised? The Drule have done it countless times before. Made a life on some of the new worlds we conquered. And it’s not like Arus would be such a hardship to live on. It’s a nice world from what I’ve seen, and of course…if you can convince Romelle to accept you, you’d no doubt become royalty. Doesn’t that sound much better than Doom?”
Sabbath blinked slowly, looking stunned by what Lotor had said. It appeared he hadn’t thought it through when it came to Romelle’s royal status, and the Drule shook his head. “What about you? is that what you’re preparing to do?”
Lotor hesitated. “I am focusing on earning Allura’s love. I think I am part way there. I mean, at least she doesn’t fight me, or cry anymore. She kisses me, and lets me touch her. She even said she wants to try to explore this attraction between us.” He tried not to smile, not wanting to appear to be rubbing it in to Sabbath at the successes he was earning with his mate. “Whatever happens, I am in it for the long haul. I will stay on Arus if that is what she so desires.” A sigh then, Lotor shaken by his confession. “I will do anything, live anywhere, be anyone just so long as I can have her love.” A sharp look at Sabbath now. “Can you say the same?”
“I want Romelle to love me…” Sabbath said. “I suppose the rest of the details don’t matter as long as she can come to accept me.”
“That’s good.” Praised Lotor. “You’ve just taken one step closer to becoming the man she might learn to love.” Sabbath frowned at that, a question in his eyes. “You’ll find there are many steps to win over a human woman.” Lotor grinned at the dismayed look on Sabbath’s face. “It’s all about adapting, and making sacrifice…I know some of it will be hard, especially at first, but I’m sure if you can get over these first few days, you can manage to win her…”
“Tell me what I must do…” Sabbath pleaded.
“Well…” Lotor had to take a moment to think, trying to figure out where he had started to go right with Allura. “Since it’s not like we can set you up to stage a big splashy rescue for her, you’ll have to work on ingratiating yourself to her another way. I think catching her when she fell from her horse was good, even if she didn’t act properly grateful at the time.”
“She was scared.” Sabbath said in defense of Romelle’s actions. “My mate has just been thrown from her steed, and she could have been trampled to death under it’s hooves. She had a right to act the way she did.”
Lotor knew it would not matter to Sabbath if he told him she acted in that manner all the time. Not with love’s blinders on. So he just forced his expression to remain neutral, Lotor seeking other ways to help Sabbath out. “With Allura, I tried giving her simple gifts. Like flowers…they are freely found on this planet, and from what I read about humans, it is an often used gift given to your intended woman.”
“Flowers…” repeated Sabbath, eyes now alert as he took in Lotor’s advice. “I will do that first thing in the morning.”
“You should also try to take your meals with her…” continued Lotor. “Romelle often joins her cousin for lunch and dinner in the castle dining room. If you were to put an appearance in, behaving yourself all the while, you could take that opportunity to be near to her.”
“Yes…” breathed out Sabbath, surely liking that idea.
“Now I wouldn’t pressure her too much right away.” Advised Lotor. “At first you should be content to just be in her presence. Try to speak to her, but don’t overly force the conversation. I’m sure Allura will help in involving you in the conversation, so that can be your ticket in should Romelle prove snappish or outright try to ignore you. She may need to get used to the idea of talking to a Drule, and pleasantly at that.”
“What else?” Sabbath asked, looking eager for more suggestions. “What else can I do to get her to want me back?”
There Lotor drew a blank, not sure what else to suggest. “We’ll need to talk to my mate. Surely she can give us some ideas about what her cousin likes. Then you’d be able to use that knowledge to better your chances with her.”
“I want that.” Sabbath told him, tone earnest. “I want her. I just…just need to be with her, and soon.”
“Um…you might want to tone down the desperate to be with her speech.” Suggested Lotor. “In my experience, it freaks the human females out. Especially when they’re not ready to commit to anything.”
“But it’s the truth!” Sabbath protested.
“I know that, and you know that, but they don’t need to know that.” Lotor amended. “You have to try and play it cool, don’t come off too needy.” He couldn’t help but have the feeling that if Romelle knew how badly Sabbath needed her for his own peace of mind, and continued happiness, the girl would do nothing but make him miserable.
“I can try not to be….” Sabbath said, but sounded doubtful of his ability to do so.
“Try real hard.” Lotor told him. “And just remember, being in this castle, you’ll have plenty of chances to try and impress her.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” Sabbath replied.
“Good.” Lotor rose from his seat, and glanced around the room. It was nice as far as guest bedrooms went, but there was a decided lack of spare beds to be found. He knew he’d have to take care of it tomorrow, find a servant to bring up a spare cot for Sabbath. “I’m going to sleep now.” Lotor said, though he wished he could return to Allura’s room and snuggle up with his mate in that pink bed of hers. But he also knew he had to remain here to keep an eye on Sabbath, the Drule liable to go back to
Romelle’s room the instant he was left alone.
“I don’t think I can sleep.” Sabbath murmured, and Lotor held back a groan as he shrugged out of his borrowed shirt.
“Do try.” Lotor ordered, not wanting to have to sit up all night with the love sick Drule. It was unsettling to listen to him, and even more to think that once he had been exactly in the same state of mind as Sabbath was in now.
“I’ll dream of her if I do…” Sabbath said in reply, and Lotor fought the urge to roll his eyes.
“That’s fine. Just keep the moaning down to a minimum if you do.” Lotor was already pulling back the blankets to the bed, ready to slip in under the covers. A glance at Sabbath showed the Drule was hauling his chair closer to the other one, intent on forming a make shift bed out of the two chairs. It wasn’t the most comfortable of beds, but it was really too late to do anything about it.
“Do you think she’ll dream of me?” Sabbath asked, tone hopeful. Lotor held back a comment that Romelle might be visited by nightmares after the scare the Drule had given her, the prince sliding in under the blankets.
“If you’re lucky she will.” Lotor said at last, allowing a smile to curve his lips upwards. “My mate dreams of me….even when she was fighting me, fighting this situation between us, she was haunted in her sleep. I think the dreams are a way of telling her what she tried to deny….that part of her recognizes that she is my mate…” He tried to imagine Romelle’s reactions to having erotic dreams about Sabbath, and ultimately decided she would throw a fit over them.
“So humans can in fact recognize their mates?” Sabbath wondered out loud.
“At least part of them does.” Lotor replied. “I know they do things differently here, but we are not that different if we can find mates among them.”
Sabbath was quiet for a while, long enough that Lotor thought he was through speaking. The prince was actually lightly dozing when another question came from Sabbath, the man sounding puzzled. “Why are our mates not Drule?”
Lotor paused, thinking it over. “I’ve been wondering that too. May I ask you a personal question Sabbath?”
“You are not fully Drule, are you?” Lotor questioned, and hastily explained himself. “I know we Drules don’t usually talk about our backgrounds, it is after all looked down upon to be other than Drule. But…there are certain things, such as the softening of your features, and your light coloring that hints you are not a pure blooded Drule.”
“You’re right.” Came Sabbath’s surprised answer. “My mother was human. A slave girl my father used long before finding his mate.” He paused, then muttered. “if he ever found her…” Lotor took the implication to mean Sabbath didn’t know who his father really was, and the prince could understand why. It wasn’t exactly unheard of for Drules males to take up with females of questionable repute before they found soul mates. Lotor himself had had several dozen women at any given time on standby for his rampant desires. He wouldn’t be surprised if he hadn’t sired a bastard or two on these girls, and knew such children would be looked down upon if brought into his household with Allura.
He thought of Sabbath, and the life a child of a slave would have had. It wasn’t pretty, and it was no wonder Sabbath had no status beyond being a soldier. He’d have had little choice to become anything but part of the Drule military, and at least there he could earn enough money to make a life for himself. How ironic that the same blood that had him ushered into a life of poverty on Doom, had brought him to find his mate on Arus!
“I think it’s because of our human blood.” Lotor said at last. “You know my father went against everything we Drules believe in, and took a wife that was not only not his mate, but a human as well….” It was a well known story, Lotor one of the fortunates who was not openly looked down upon for his mixed heritage. “My father thought to do away with the mating imperative in us Drules….but I think it just got misaligned with my human side.” He snorted then, not quite laughing. “Who knows, maybe if our children bred with non Drules, and their children with others, eventually it would be bred out of our descendants completely.”
“Such a thing could be happening all over the galaxy!” Sabbath said, alarmed. “The Drules have spread out on many planets, and some of them are giving up on finding their better halves.”
“I think it’s wrong to go through life without finding your true love.” Lotor sighed. “I know before I found my mate, Allura, I was as bad as Zarkon, using women as I saw fit, and hoping to the Gods that I would not be saddled down with any one in particular. Now that I found her, I can’t imagine being without her. I…I was foolish, and my father is stupid for trying to fight against our urges.”
“Maybe it’s a mistake…” Lotor continued when Sabbath said nothing. “Maybe we should have never left Doom to build homes on other worlds. It certainly made finding our mates harder for our people in general. There’s too many giving up hope, looking for solace elsewhere….” And the fortunate few that did then find their mates after they took another as spouse? Well, that made an ugly situation that wasn’t worth dwelling about.
Sabbath still wasn’t saying anything, and it was then that Lotor heard the soft snore. The Drule had fallen asleep, leaving Lotor alone with his thoughts. The prince now didn’t feel like sleeping, wondering if there was any way of helping the unmated half of his people find the other halves of their souls. Short of calling all the Drules back to Doom, and holding a big meet and greet with them, he doubted it, and that left him sad and frustrated.
Lotor was left to wonder if it was the ultimate fate of the Drules to breed out their mating urges, if their biology would become so distorted that one day their descendants would have to rely on other means to find love and happiness. It was with these troubling thoughts that he fell asleep, and his puzzled mind in turn gave him nightmares about losing Allura, or never finding her in the first place.