Allura found it strange to wake up all alone, an odd and disappointed feeling coursing through her when she shifted from the sleeping state where erotic dreams lingered, to the sudden alertness of being in an empty bed. She found she missed Lotor’s nearness, perhaps more than she wanted to admit to anyone, least of all herself. She LIKED being in his embrace, in being cuddled to sleep, enveloped in the safety of his arms. Of being petted and caressed into a fever pitch of arousal, one that felt a million times better than the need brought on by her dreams of him.
Her body ached, Allura all a tingle, nipples stiff and aching. With a groan, she got up, and hurried to take a cold shower, and there she hesitated. The cooling waters wasn’t enough to dissipate the fire within her, she actually skimmed her hands over her body, guilty as though fearing someone would burst in and catch her. She needn’t have worried, the chief two suspects in walking in on her were currently busy, Lotor stuck with Sabbath. And as she would learn in just a few minutes, Nanny was currently occupied with her cousin, the woman fussing over Romelle who played up on her trauma from the night before.
Still, she bordered on paranoia, Allura biting at her lip as she touched herself. It felt a lot different from when Lotor handled her body, her touch unsure, lacking his confidence and expertise. There were things she didn’t dare do, Allura hesitant to go too far in her own exploration of her body. Her fingers barely skimmed over the center of her body, Allura nervous, and finding she breathed faster at the caress.
She had no experience in self pleasure, before meeting Lotor she had had no glimmer of true desire. There had been a time when she might have seen a handsome man, and felt a shy flicker of something within her. Some youthful innocence that yearned for a touch, or even something as scandalous as a kiss. Those times had been rare, not enough to make her feel she was missing out on a whole other side to life.
With Lotor it was different, he awakened things within her, made her feels things she had never dreamt possible. She now had the concepts of being desired, of wanting, and being wanted in return. She knew how it felt to be touched, to be stroked on nearly every point of her body. There was few places left secret to Lotor, one of which she now caressed her fingers over nervously.
She had denied him when he tried to touch between her legs, but a forbidden part of her wanted to know how it would have felt. If it was anything like her dreams, it would have been good, a damn near better than her own clumsy attempts at petting. She sighed, and leaned against the shower’s wall, left hand on her breast, playing nervously with a nipple. Her other hand was between her legs, and Allura let them spread apart, fingers sliding along the wetness that had started some time during her dreams.
And what dreams they had been, Allura closing her eyes, and letting a soft moan be muffled through the biting of her lip. Vividly, the images came to mind, Lotor’s hands all over her. It wasn’t just with fingers he touched her, he used everything about him to caress her. He had pressed against her, rubbing up against her with the whole of his body, chest sliding across her abraded nipples.
His legs had tangled with hers, foot sliding up and down her one calve. He kissed her, and his mouth did not remain singly focused on her mouth. Those lips of his went all over, lingering in places that had her panting and growing wet with desire, She had no idea if she’d like some of the places he had kissed her, but judging by how much she had enjoyed the reality of his touches, she had a good idea she could learn to love them.
With a gasp, she continued her stroking, but her fingers were only leaving her wanting for more. Desperate and aroused, she whimpered, wishing for a release of these feelings. She didn’t know the things needed to be done to get it, ultimately her touches left her in a foul mood, Allura showering thoroughly in cold water. She hoped the water would be enough to wash away the SCENT of what she had done. It would be too humiliating otherwise for Lotor to look at her, and know she had been naughty.
The concept of the Drule sense of smell was still a bit unsettling to her, Allura quick to grow embarrassed at the thought of Lotor being able to scent her arousal. She spent half the time getting dressed, the other half thinking about Lotor. She wanted to see him, and yet she wanted to get herself under control first, and figured the best way was to go see her cousin.
She found the room much like she had left it the night before, the door still broken off it’s hinges. A repairman had yet to be called, but Allura didn’t doubt it wouldn’t be fixed by the time night rolled around. If not by Romelle’s orders, than by Nanny’s, the older woman present inside the bedroom. She was standing behind Romelle, helping to brush out the princess’ hair, which was almost but not quite as long as Allura’s.
Her cousin had dressed in a light blue summer gown, the skirt reaching almost to her ankles. A darker shade of cerulean bored the bodice, and the two shades together would surely make her cousin’s eyes dazzle. Allura was under no illusion that Romelle was dressing up on the off chance of seeing Sabbath, her cousin was simply overly concerned with looking her past.
Next to Romelle, Allura felt almost plain in her lavender jump suit, the style of which was cut similar to the pink pant suit she had worn aboard the Drule warship. Neither Romelle nor Nanny had noticed Allura, their backs to her, her cousin’s gaze fixated on her reflection in the vanity’s mirror. Allura raised her hand to knock on the wall, and at that both women were turning.
“Good morning.” It was a nervous chirp, Allura noting the looks she received were not exactly friendly. Nanny wasn’t exactly hostile, but her face was that of stern disapproval. Romelle actually narrowed her eyes at Allura, her look haughty and displeased. It took a moment, but then they were muttering mornings of their own, Nanny not one to be outright nasty to Allura, regardless of her personal feelings towards the princess’ behavior.
She didn’t feel exactly welcome, but she stepped in deeper to the room. Romelle’s bed had been made, and she noticed two chairs had been pulled up near it, pillows and blankets stuffed on top of one. She raised her eyebrows in surprise, Allura looking back at Nanny. “You spent the night?”
“Of course!” Came the heavily accented answer. “I wasn’t about to leave princess Romelle alone, what with the door broken, and vicious Drule savages running about!”
“They’re not savages!” Allura protested. “And they’re not vicious…” She hesitated, and Nanny got a triumphant a ha look on her face. “Not unless provoked.” She amended at last. “And really, Sabbath meant Romelle no harm.”
“Sabbath? Is that the savage’s name?” Nanny demanded, as though Allura had not just spoken against calling him that.
“Yes. And he’s very sorry for scaring you, cousin.” Allura said, earning a suspicious look from Nanny.
“And how would you know?” She questioned sharply. “Did you speak with him?!”
“I didn’t have to speak with him to know he’s truly repentant about that.” Allura replied defensively. “Anyone who really looked at him, could tell he was bothered that he upset Romelle.”
“Hmph.” Her cousin made a nose, turning back to her mirror. Nanny continued to stare at Allura, angry and distraught over the whole matter.
“We spoke to Sergeant Dupree.” Nanny said. “How can you still refuse to put that Drule in the dungeons?!”
“He should be arrested!” added Nanny, and returned to brushing out Romelle’s hair. It was a sign of her tight control over her feelings that she didn’t transfer her anger to the brush strokes. “Otherwise you set a dangerous precedent.”
“Precedent for what?” A bewildered Allura asked.
“For breaking into a lady’s room!” Nanny retorted. “If you allow one to do it, the other one will try as well!” Allura met Romelle’s gaze in the mirror, realizing her cousin hadn’t told Nanny about Lotor’s late night visits. She was relieved, and filled with gratitude, even as she flushed at Nanny’s voice, which was just this short of shouting. “It’s bad enough that prince of theirs thinks he’s in love with you, but now this other one is lusting after your cousin!”
And that was probably where most of Nanny’s anger and worry came from, the woman fearing the Drule’s love as unnatural. “Nanny…” Allura sighed. “It’s a lot more complicated than thinking he’s in love with me…and it’s more real than just feeling lust. The Drule don’t make claims of love lightly….they take such things very seriously. If you have a Drule stating he is devoted to you and you alone, you can be sure he means it.”
“A few days with Lotor, and suddenly you think you are an expert on the Drules?” Romelle demanded, chasing Nanny’s hands away from her hair.
“I’ve spent little more than a week with him, and much of that time was in close quarters.” Nanny looked scandalized at that. “So yes, I’ve had enough time to learn about Drules, about their love, and what it means to them to be their mate.”
“Mate.” Nanny’s lips curled in scorn, the woman narrowing her eyes. “Don’t think I’ll let that go lightly! When Captain Darius’ men returned to the castle, they began to talk about what the Drules said.”
“OH?” Allura tried to be calm, though inwardly she worried.
“That Drule of yours made claims on you. He even said you were his bride!” Nanny bristled with outrage. “Imagine the nerve of him!”
“We are not married…” Allura told her gently. “Certainly not by Arusian law. But by Drule custom, the bond of mates is such that they are instantly recognized as belonging to one another. It is very much like being married to him.”
“You are not going to be some filthy Drule’s wife!” Nanny’s eyes blazed with righteous fury. “I forbid it!”
“You forbid it?!” Allura stared at her, mouth gaping. Nanny nodded, and it was Allura’s turn to glare. “It seems I must remind you, I rule here not you. I can and will see who I want, when I want!”
“And that’s another thing!” Nanny pointed out her with the brush, eyes accusing. “Every since that Drule came into your life, you’ve been acting different.”
“She’s right, you have.” Agreed Romelle, a small smirk on her reflection’s face.
“You’ve been throwing your weight around, giving orders.” Continued Nanny. “You’ve been downright bossy!”
“No, I’ve been assertive. And it’s about time too. You and Coran can’t continue to downplay my desires!” Allura said, and Nanny snapped.
“We are your guardians until you turn of age to become Queen. We are acting in your best interests!”
“I’m nearly….no I am an adult. You just don’t want to face that truth. I can and do make sound decisions.” Nanny grumbled at that, and Allura fought to keep from softening. “Nanny, I can’t stay your little girl forever. And I think Coran already accepts that. Why can’t you?”
Nanny seemed to sputter, turning her back to Allura to busy herself with the items on Romelle’s vanity. It appeared she wasn’t going to get an answer, and she sighed. “Romelle? Will you join me for breakfast?” A pause, Romelle looking ready to reject her. “Please?”
“Fine.” Romelle said, and rose from her seat. “And maybe while we’re eating, I can talk some sense into you about the Drules!”
“Please!” Nanny muttered, not quite under her breath.
“I’ll listen to what you have to say if you promise to try and be of a more open mind around them.” Allura told her cousin, and Romelle sniffed, haughty.
“I don’t think I can be. Especially with that new one so deluded as to think he can have me!” But Romelle was walking towards her, Allura hiding a relived smile. “Imagine! The very thought makes my skin crawl.” Together they walked out of the room, leaving Nanny behind.
“It’s not so bad.” Allura said, once they were out of ear shot of Nanny. “I mean, at first it rather upset me too.” She knew she was understating the matter, Allura remembering how scared and upset she had been, confused over Lotor’s actions and claims.
“But then you changed.” Pointed out Romelle, starting down the stair case that led to the main floor of the castle. “You started to respond to the Drule.”
She blushed, and muttered a quick answer. “I couldn’t help it!”
“He’s cast a spell on you, Allura!” Romelle clicked her tongue, making a tsking sound. “Why else would you be so quick to accept him and these…other Drules that supposedly want to help us.”
“It’s not a spell…” Allura shook her head, then bit her lip as unbidden a dream image flashed into her mind. “Not really. I was resistant at first, but now I’ve gotten to know him, and see him as a person of value. I LIKE him. I think I could do more than just like him.” Her blush deepened at her confession. “And if you gave Sabbath a chance, you might find yourself liking him as well.”
“I doubt that, very much indeed!” Romelle snapped, acting offended by the idea. “Unlike you, I really don’t intend to give that Drule any of my time.”
“But he’s in the castle, you’re bound to run into him.” Allura pointed out.
“It’s a big building, I’m sure I can avoid him.” Romelle said determinedly. “Besides, it’s not like you and that Lotor. He kept you prisoner in his cabin for days. I’ve no doubt you are suffering some sort of Stockholm syndrome from the stress of it all.”
“I’m not.” Allura began to protest, but Romelle was continuing.
“Really Allura, it would be better if you stayed away from Lotor as well. Wean yourself free of his influence.” They turned a corner, and were nearing the dining room, soldiers standing to attention at the sight of the two princesses. “I know you have to continue to play nice with him so long as this war is in effect. But afterwards? Do yourself a favor and cut all ties with him.”
“You want me to use him?!” Allura said aghast.
“There’s nothing wrong with that!” Romelle quickly replied. “And it’s not like he’s not happy to be used. Or…” She smirked outside the dining room’s door. “Is all your claims about his love and devotion for you just lies?”
“They’re not lies!” Allura protested, a guard pulling open the door. “But I could never do what you suggested.”
“Why not?” Romelle was focused on Allura, not looking inside the room they were entering.
“I…I just don’t like to use people in that way. Anyone, for any reason.” Allura answered, and Romelle frowned at her.
“And you’re saying I would?” Romelle rolled her eyes, and turned her face forward. And suddenly drew up short, Allura nearly walking into her. Allura started to ask what was wrong, and then she saw him, Lotor rising from his seat to flash a smile her way. She was already smiling back, though it was tinted with nervousness, Allura really hoping Lotor wouldn’t smell her too deeply.
“What is HE doing here?!” Came Romelle’s loud hiss, and Allura tore her eyes away from Lotor to notice who else was in the room. There was Gloria, who gave a nervous wave at the two princesses. A plate was before her, Nanny’s infamous apple tarts piled on top of it. But Allura knew it wasn’t the girl’s appearance that had her cousin agitated. No, the sole reason for Romelle’s displeasure stemmed from the Drule standing next to Lotor.
She looked him over, truly seeing Sabbath for the first time. She hadn’t paid much attention to him, not on the Drule warship, nor in the woods, more concerned with her cousin’s near fatal fall. But now she looked, noting his skin was a powder blue that was nearly the shame hue as Lotor’s. His inky black hair wasn’t as long as Lotor’s white main, and he wore it in the oddest of fashions. Nearly all of it was braided, a thousand thin braids that had dark blue beads wound in it.
His eyes, which were completed focused on Romelle, were gold gleaming and filled with ardent desire. He was about the same height as Lotor, but looked a little more barrel chested than the prince, having a few pounds on him in weight. He still made an attractive package, at least where looks were concerned, and Allura thought her cousin could like him if she just gave him a try.
“Allura…” Lotor was growling out her name, and he didn’t sound pleased. She jerked her eyes away from Sabbath, and caught the irritated look Lotor gave her. She wondered at it, then realized with a start he was bothered by her study of Sabbath. She then had to hide a smile, privately amused that Lotor could react in jealousy over a little harmless looking.
“Romelle…” Sabbath whispered her name, a hand being pressed over his chest, as though he was trying to keep his heart trapped. She couldn’t see her cousin’s face, but Romelle made a displeased sound.
“Good morning.” Gloria said, looking increasingly worried over the tension forming in the room.
“Good morning Gloria.” Allura smiled at the girl, just before Romelle turned, trying to bolt from the room. Several things happened at once, Sabbath trying to leap over the table to chase after her. Lotor lashed out with his hands, grabbing the other Drule and holding him to the table. Allura rushed out after Romelle, and once in the hallway grabbed her by the arm.
“I won’t!” Romelle snapped, before Allura had said anything.
“Won’t what?!” Allura asked, not having to pretend to be confused.
“I won’t play and make nice with that Drule!” Romelle retorted, face flushing in anger.
“It’s just breakfast…” Allura said, bemused. “It won’t mean anything unless you make it so.” Romelle stared at her a moment, and then Allura was adding. “A man has to eat. And…it’s not like you to be chased off, not by anyone or anything. So don’t start now…”
“I am not running away.” Romelle protested, and Allura fixed her with a pointed look.
“You’re not? Then what do you call this?”” Romelle colored in response. “Please Romelle, join me for breakfast. You don’t even have to talk to him, or acknowledge his presence. Just please….do this for me…”
Romelle hesitated, Allura fearing her cousin would choose to take a meal up to her room. “Fine.” Romelle said sullenly. “But I’m not doing this for you. I just want to prove that no Drule, no matter how deluded, can drive away a princess of Arus!”
With that announcement, she jerked her arm free of Allura’s grip, and swept back into the dining room. Allura followed quick on her heels, noting Lotor was still holding onto a tense Sabbath’s arm. It was a wonder that he managed to retain control of the other Drule, Sabbath managing to relax somewhat at the sight of Romelle’s return.
“Sorry for that.” Allura said breezily, walking over to the table. Romelle had already sat down, at the end furthest from the two Drules. She offered no explanations for why she had tried to leave, but then Allura supposed they all could guess as to Romelle’s reasons.
“It’s fine.” Lotor let go of Sabbath, but was cautious for any sudden moves. When there was none, Lotor approached Allura, pulling out a seat for her. She smiled and sat down, watching as Lotor went to sit back near Sabbath. It seemed the prince didn’t trust Sabbath not to lose control without Lotor on constant alert, and that left her worried over the chances for things to go wrong.
“So…” Allura began, not quite sure what to say. “This looks good.” She was looking at the meal laid out before them, noting the castle cooks had broiled plenty of meat to accommodate the two Drules’ appetites.
Romelle made a noncommittal noise, already picking out choice tidbits from the offered selection near her. Allura glanced at Lotor, who was watching her intently. She saw his nostrils flare, and immediately colored, hoping he wasn’t trying to breathe in more of her scent. She told herself that maybe he wouldn’t be able to smell her over the many different and delicious aromas the breakfast before them gave off.
“Did you sleep well?” Allura asked, and Lotor shrugged.
“Managed a few hours.” He didn’t have to say more, she instinctively knew he had been up watching over Sabbath. “Someone’s snoring kept me up half the night.” Sabbath didn’t seem to notice the gentle jibe, the Drule barely eating as he stared at Romelle. Her cousin was picking at her meal, but not actually eating, as though bothered by the way Sabbath stared at her.
“We’ll have to get you your own room Sabbath.” Allura said, trying to include him in the conversation. “Especially if you’re to remain at the castle.” That got Romelle’s attention, the princess looking up with a frown.
“Why should he remain here?! You’re not really thinking of offering these Drule permanent residence in the castle?!” She was alarmed, and even more so when Allura nodded. But before Allura could say anything, Sabbath was speaking.
“I stay where my mate is.”
Romelle flushed, and nearly threw her spoon at him, her hand trembling as she pointed at him. “I am NOT your mate.”
“But you are!” Sabbath heatedly protested. “I’ve known from the first moment I saw you.” He frowned and shook his head. “No before that. When the wind carried your
scent to me on it’s breeze.” That last was said almost dreamily, and Sabbath’s nostrils flared as though he was trying to smell Romelle now.
Romelle merely colored in anger, hissing affronted. “Are you saying I smell?!” She said it was like an insult, but Sabbath didn’t seem to understand, smiling happily.
“I do not! You take that back this instant!” Romelle all but shouted.
“But….you do…” Sabbath clearly did not understand, and it was Lotor who interjected himself into their conversation.
“He’s not saying you stink.” Lotor glanced amused at Allura. “I smell Allura all the time. It has nothing to do with hygiene, and everything to do with one’s personal scent. It’s pleasing, and helps us Drule to identify our mates from afar. Ask Sabbath what he thinks of your scent…” Romelle just glared at him, and Lotor gave her a mocking smile. “Are you afraid?”
“I am not!” protested Romelle, than glared fiercely at Sabbath. “What do I smell like?”
“You smell wonderful.” Sabbath said, seeming almost eager to answer the question. “Like the sweetest candy….like apple dipped in caramel….It just makes me want to taste you. To run my tongue all over you, where you are most fragrant, and eat up the taste of you. I…” Lotor suddenly jabbed him in the side with his elbow, and said a curt word in Drule. Sabbath fell silent at that, and Romelle had gone redder in response.
“Right then…” Allura said, and reached for a croissant. “So we all agree Romelle does not stink.” She almost giggled, nervous and desperately searching for a safe subject. Sabbath muttered something in Drule, to which Lotor replied, leaving Allura desperately curious about what they were saying. “Sabbath, you’re Basic is very good. How long have you been practicing it?”
“Eh? Oh…for many years now.” He said, then added the following. “Though a few words still give me trouble. Sometimes it’s hard to convey my meaning properly.”
“I think you’re doing fine.” Allura assured him warmly. “Is it because of your fluency with the language that you were made the representative of the Drules who want to defect to Lotor’s side?”
He nodded. “That played a key role in the position I was able to secure for myself. Speaking an alien tongue has it’s advantages.”
“Will it affect things with you down here on Arus rather than fighting in the actual battles?” Allura wanted to know, and Sabbath hesitated.
“I don’t think it will. Besides, my place is here….to protect Romelle.” A glance at Lotor, Sabbath hastily adding. “And you my prince!” Lotor began to smile, but it was Romelle who answered.
“The only one I need protecting from is you!” Her blue eyes seemed to blaze with anger. “And I’m sure my guards will be more than enough to handle you should you get fresh again.”
“He didn’t get fresh in the first place!” snapped Lotor, and Sabbath spoke low, his soft tone not hiding the threat in his voice.
“These….humans you call soldiers won’t be enough to keep me from your side. And if they try…” A wicked smirk, Sabbath looking satisfied. “They will not like what I do to them.”
Romelle gasped at that, and turned to look at Allura. “Did you hear that Allura? He just threatened me AND our soldiers!”
“Um…he wasn’t threatening you per se…” Allura began, but Romelle was hissing.
“Do something about him!”
“What would you have her do, Romelle?” Lotor demanded. “He’s merely stating a fact. Your soldiers should not try to run interference between you two.”
“Now you’re threatening me!” Romelle slammed down her utensils, and stood, shoulders shaking. “I will not sit here and endure this farce another minute.”
“Romelle…” Allura was plaintive as she spoke her cousin’s name.
“No!” Romelle snapped, and walked away from the table.
“Romelle, don’t go!” Sabbath begged, but Romelle didn’t even respond, stalking out of the room. Sabbath let out a low moan, muttering things in Drule. Lotor seemed to pat him awkwardly on the back, and helped ease him down into his seat. Allura slumped in her chair, and it was Gloria who spoke, the girl nervous and trying to calm the situation.
“Has Nanny been using extra apples in these tarts of hers?” The girl asked. “They taste different…not that it isn’t a good kind of different.” She hastily added.
“She hates me.” Sabbath whispered in basic, and Allura’s heart went out to him then.
“She just needs time…” Allura said, and Sabbath looked at her hopefully.
“My prince said you’d help me court her…”
“I can try.” Allura said, and Sabbath seemed to wilt in relief.
“That’s all I ask for.”
She looked away from the desperate hope in his golden eyes, to look at Lotor. His expression was unreadable, as though he was trying to hide what he thought of Sabbath’s chances with Romelle. She almost sighed at that thought, and turned to her meal, pushing at it though she now had very little interest in eating it.