Attraction 51

She found herself in Coran’s office, Nanny to the left of her, the woman agitated and glaring. Sitting behind the desk was Coran, his expression grave as he tried to piece together what was happening. Allura couldn’t blame him for being confused, every time the princess tried to talk, Nanny would begin shouting, until Allura herself raised her own voice. The words would be lost, mangled into incomprehensive shouts that served no purpose except to upset everyone.

This was not the way Allura wanted to break the news to Coran, and Nanny was making the situation far more unpleasant that it should have been. Allura wondered why the woman hadn’t grown hoarse from all her shouting, her vocal complaints progressing steadily for the last ten minutes until word of it had reached Coran’s ears. He hadn’t come to collect Nanny and the princess himself, instead sending two guards to escort the pair into his office.

There, for one instant, the two had been quiet under Coran’s stern gaze. He hadn’t needed to speak, to let his disapproval known, his eyes shone with it, his every mannerism screaming with it. It almost chastised Nanny, the woman subdued as she took a seat before Coran’s desk. Allura took the other one, the borrowed neckerchief in her hands, fingers fiddling nervously with it.

Coran had glanced at the cloth, then raised his eyes to Allura’s throat, spying the marks that so offended Nanny. His mustache didn’t so much as twitch, nor was an eyebrow raised, but she felt the accusation in his eyes. Allura felt her face go crimson, and she had opened her mouth, ready to defend the marks and herself. At the first attempt to speak, Nanny had begun speaking as well, and when the governess realized Allura wasn’t going to fall quiet, she began to raise her voice.

Allura had reacted with anger to that tactic, her own voice raising, until both were shouting. Coran had not raised his voice in response, sitting back and letting them work some of their anger out of their system that way. Now they had fallen silent, but Allura knew from experience Nanny would not remain quiet for long. She was grateful Coran’s office was thick with sound proofed walls, no doubt the castle gossips were lurking outside it’s door, trying to gleam even more fuel for the rumor mills. Allura’s cheeks grew even warmer, the girl thinking how much damage she had done when she had blurted out the news of her union with Lotor for all present to hear.

She held back a sigh, and continued to play with the neckerchief, Coran making them wait five more minutes before speaking. “Now.” Came his voice, his fingers drumming impatiently on the lacquered wood surface of his desk. “Just what is going on…?”

“Coran I…” Allura began, but Nanny immediately cut her off.

“Just look at her Coran!” Nanny cried, dramatically pointing at Allura’s neck. “Just look what she allowed that Drule to do!”

Coran did indeed look, Allura not knowing if her embarrassment would be any less if she covered her neck once more with the neckerchief. Nanny wasn’t done, flailing her one arm about, face angry and red as she spoke. “I knew, KNEW she shouldn’t have gone aboard that Drule ship. Especially not without a chaperone! We should have refused to let her onboard, she should have stayed in the castle where she would have been safe from that filthy, perverted Drule!”

“He’s not filthy, and he’s not perverted!” Allura immediately retorted, feeling her anger rise up at Nanny’s insults to Lotor. “And you’d know that if you’d take off your blinders, and stop looking at the Drules with hatred and disdain!”

Nanny made a scoffing sound, but it was Coran who spoke. “Allura is right….Lotor is an ally of ours….as is the Drule that are loyal to him. We’ve learned first hand that not all Drule are evil….we cannot hold them all at fault for the actions of their king.”

“I don’t care about their King, or the majority of their people, good or bad!” Nanny replied, her arm flailing having grown calm. “I’m concerned with one in particular, and his actions that have corrupted our princess!”

“He hasn’t corrupted me!” Allura protested, and Nanny made a scoffing sound that ended on a loud sob.

“Oh?” She sniffled, managing to be haughty even through her tears. “Then what would you call this?!”

Allura wasn’t sure what to say, and it was Coran who spoke. “I understand that those two may have had a….youthful indiscretion, but really Nanny, is it any reason to get so upset?”

“Youthful indiscretion?!” Nanny repeated with a snort. “He’s ruined her, both her reputation, and her ability to get married!”

“My reputation is fine.” Allura insisted. “As for marriage, that is a moot point.”

“Moot point?!” Nanny cried, and Allura nodded. But before she could say anything, Nanny was continuing. “You are the princess of Arus, your marriage union is to be carefully considered from all angles, to find the one that is best suited for the planet and her people.”

“What about the one that is best for me?!” demanded Allura, then shook her head. “What about one that would be both beneficial to Arus, and to my heart?!”

“You are deluding yourself if you think the Drule will be good for Arus!” Nanny shouted. “They bring nothing but war and misery to wherever they travel!”

“That can’t be true!” Allura said, and turned to Coran. “Lotor and his supporters, they helped Arus. They saved us from being invaded, from losing our freedom. And even now they work to help repair the damage that was done to the castle. I know an alliance with them would prove even more useful in the future when Lotor takes the throne from his father!”

“That may be a long time coming…” Coran said, looking as though he was trying to be diplomatic. “But right now, he has just a a few supporters, and a large amount of ships. He doesn’t even have enough soldiers to maintain an entire armada of ships.”

“But that will change.” Allura insisted. “Lotor’s support will grow, and one day he will put an end to Zarkon and his tyranny. An end we need, else Doom will never stop attacking Arus!”

“We have Voltron!” interjected Nanny. “We don’t need anyone else’s help, especially not a lecherous Drule prince, and a group of treacherous soldiers!”

“Lotor has been nothing but polite to you!” Allura reprimanded Nanny. “Where do you get off attaching insult after insult to his name!?”

“Polite?! Hmph! That was all an act to get close to you. Oh! I should have been more diligent in keeping him away from you! Then none of this would have happened!”

“I love him.” Her voice was quiet but forceful. “It’s a love you wouldn’t have been able to stop. We would have found a way to be together, no matter what you tried to do!”

Nanny burst into tears at that, using her apron to dab at her wet face. She was all sniffles and tears, practically impossible to understand. “He’s twisted your mind…made you defiant……you used to be such a good girl, always listening to your Nanny!”

“I’m not a child anymore! I have to make my own decisions!” Allura retorted.

“Yes.” Coran’s agreement came with a but. “You are. But you also have to take in account that what you do affects not only yourself, but the people of this planet. It would behoove us all if you would at least seek council with us before you make any final decisions…”

“I’m sorry but…” Allura did not lower her eyes, locking her gaze with Coran’s. “In this one instant, no one could decide my future but me!”

“Your future?”

“Tell him princess!” hissed Nanny, still crying. “Tell him what you’ve done. Tell him all of it!”

Allura did not grow embarrassed, keeping her head held high. “I am not ashamed of what I’ve done! And I won’t let you make me feel otherwise. Coran…” She hadn’t wanted to break the news in quite this manner, but now she couldn’t imagine any other way it could have gone. “I’m in a committed relationship with Prince Lotor.”

“What does that mean? Committed relationship?” Coran asked.

“I’m, well….according to his people’s customs…I’m his wife now.” Allura explained, and flushed at Coran’s stunned speechless look. His mouth actually fell open, though no sound came out. He just stared at her, and Allura hastened to continue. “We’re united body and heart, his people recognize the union, and I hope you will too.” That was simplifying things, from what Allura understood, she and Lotor had been considered a couple from the moment he had found her, with only the lovemaking being held back.

“Do you hear her?” Nanny sobbed, as Coran seemed to fall backwards in his seat. Allura stood up abruptly, thinking to catch Coran before his chair toppled over, but at the last second he righted himself. “Do you hear this foolishness?!”

“What have you done?” Coran managed to breathe out, but at least he wasn’t yelling.

“I want to have an official ceremony in the next few days.” Allura continued, as though Coran hadn’t spoken. “It need not be a lavish ceremony. Just a priest, some rings, and a few close friends. I want him recognized as my husband as soon as possible among my people…”

It was silent in the office except for Nanny’s sobbing, Coran just blinking owlishly at Allura. “A…all right.” At his agreement, Nanny grew even more upset, practically hysterical.

“How can you agree to this?!” The woman demanded.

“How can I not? It sounds as if all the choice has been taken from me…” Coran retorted. “They’ve been together for days…a lot can happen in that time…” His gaze seemed to slide to Allura’s belly, and Nanny shuddered when she got his implication.

Allura hadn’t even thought of the possibility of being pregnant, though in truth they had been together many times, and each occasion had been without any precautions against pregnancy. She wasn’t sure she was ready to be a mother, she wanted to enjoy her time as a wife first, so she tried to keep her expression calm. “There’s more….” She said out loud, and Coran raised his eyebrows at that.

“What else can there be?!” Nanny wondered out loud. She looked defeated and weary, sagging in her seat.

Allura wasn’t sure she wanted Nanny present for this, but the woman looked as though she was not leaving any time soon. “It’s about Lotor’s efforts to fight his father for the Doom throne.”

“Oh?” She gave Coran props where it was due, the man recovering from the shocks he had been giving this day.

“Yes….I..” She hesitated, knowing this might go over as well as the news of her and Lotor’s union. “I promised him Arus’ support. I agreed to give him ships and men for the time when he would begin his assault on Doom.”

“I…I see.” Coran said, expression tight in an effort to hide what he was feeling. “And were you planning to ever run this by me, and ask what I thought about it?”

“I’m doing that now.” Allura told him. “But. you have to see the benefits in our doing this.” Coran gestured for her to explain, while Nanny continued to cry softly in the background. “King Zarkon needs to be stopped. Not just for Arus’ sake, but for the good of the galaxy. There’s no doubt he’ll keep coming after Arus, and all it will take is one victory for him to destroy our freedom completely. Now, I don’t mean to offer up our entire military to Lotor’s campaign, a substantial part will remain here to defend Arus in case of an attack. But I do intend to give him men, ships, and whatever resources we can spare.”

“We will be a target for Zarkon especially now that you are….married to his son.” Coran said, having hesitated on his choice of words for her union with Lotor. “I suppose we will have no choice but to help with the war campaign, if only to ensure peace for Arus.”

“Everything about the Drule bring disaster to our land!” Nanny sniffled. “We wouldn’t have to fight any wars if he just stayed away….from Allura and Arus.”

“That is not possible.” Replied Allura. “He’s in my life, and war is our reality. Zarkon set his sights on Arus long before Lotor and I even knew of each other. If Lotor hadn’t been sent here, someone else would have come….and we probably wouldn’t have been as lucky as we were with my husband’s help.”

“Husband!” Nanny practically shrieked, covering her face with her hand. The word husband seemed like a dagger to her heart, the woman shaking violently with her pain. Allura pretended not to notice Nanny’s reaction, gazing at Coran instead.

“I shall start going over what we can afford to spare in expenses for this campaign of Prince Lotor’s. I do not want to have to burden the people of Arus with any more taxation.”

“I understand.” Allura nodded. “But I believe we have quite some time to prepare. It might take months for Lotor to gather up all his allies and prepare for the battle. Enough time to train soldiers to be familiar with the Drule’s way of fighting.”

“I’m sure there will be many eager to volunteer to learn.” Coran said. “The prince and his allies impressed our soldiers quite a bit. Captain Darius and his men still talk about the fights they were involved with inside the castle.”

Allura smiled briefly at that, glad to hear that not all her people would give the Drules a hard time. “Then if you will excuse me?” Coran stood when she did, only Nanny remained seated, crying her heart out.

“Of course.” Coran gave a stiff bow, and Allura nodded her head to him. She glanced at Nanny, but was ignored, the woman too lost to her grief. Allura held back a sigh, and walked out of the room, stepping into the hall and a group of people who tried their best to look as if they belonged there. She was aware that Nanny could be heard crying, and she quickly shut the door before anything else could be revealed.

“Do you not have duties to attend to?” Allura asked, and the people immediately hurried off, offering murmured excuses. She sighed, and fought the urge to roll her eyes, walking off towards the medical facilities of the castle. The discussion with Coran and Nanny, painful and awkward as it had been, had alerted her to a truth she had been ignoring.

It was the truth that she and Lotor had been careless, a carelessness that could result in her being pregnant at this point and time. She might not be able to do anything if she was, but if she wasn’t, Allura could take the measures to keep an accidental child from being conceived in their near future.

She was lost to her own musings, barely noticing the glances she was getting from the people she passed. They were looking at her funny, and nudging each other, whispering amongst themselves. It was rude behavior, and she might have said something to reprimand them if she had been more alert to her surroundings. As it was, it wasn’t until she nearly crashed into her cousin, that Allura regained some of her awareness.

“Allura!” Romelle exclaimed, and looked her over. She also took in the fact that there was a group of maids just standing around, clearly loitering with the intent to eavesdrop. “Come with me!” Romelle decided, and with a grip on Allura’s arm, dragged her off into an empty side room.

The room was crowded with cots, leaving little room to maneuver around them. Romelle paused long enough to make sure no one else was in the room, then whirled to face Allura. “Is what I hear true?!”

“I don’t know.” Allura said, more eager to get to the doctor for an examination and some birth control than anything else. “What have you heard?”

“You and Lotor are married!” Romelle exclaimed, and Allura allowed a faint smile to appear on her face.

“Where did you hear that?”

“Are you kidding me? The whole castle is talking about the argument you had with Nanny, and the fact you threw the marriage in her face!” Romelle’s eyes looked wide with disbelief. “I don’t know what I find more shocking…..the marriage, or the fact you talked back to Nanny in such a way!”

“They’re both true.” Allura said with a sigh. “I’m rather ashamed of how I behaved with Nanny, but I am not sorry about my relationship with Lotor.” Romelle sank down to sit on one of the cots, staring at Allura so hard that she began to fidget. “What?”

“I just…I just don’t know how you could marry him that’s all.” Romelle replied.

“It’s simple. I love him.” Allura answered with a smile. “I’ve loved him for a while now, this is only a confirmation of our love.”

“When did it happen?” Romelle asked.

“A few days ago….although from what I understand, we were husband and wife from the minute Lotor found me. Although…” Allura hesitated, thinking it over. “Husband and wife is not the correct term. Being a mated pair is slightly different then what we humans have. Although Lotor and I are planning on having an official ceremony, so that he is recognized as my husband through Arusian law.” She smiled again. “In any case, the consummation of our love for each other, has tied us together more fully than any vow exchanging could hope to achieve.”

“What?” For some reason Romelle grew pale, and Allura wondered why.

“Oh the Drules already recognized us as a mated pair, but if there was any doubt to that claim, it’s been disposed of.” Allura almost giggled. “Lotor was giving me an out on walking away from him, but he had explained to me how once we uh…” She blushed, stumbling a little over the words. “Once we made love, that would be it. I wouldn’t be able to leave him, wouldn’t be able to divorce him.”

“Oh.” Romelles’ voice was faint, her skin so pale.

“The Drules don’t have a thing like divorce. Love between them is very binding, it only cements the mating bond further. I was it for Lotor, but he knew I was uncertain, and he didn’t want me to feel trapped into a relationship with him. You can’t just sleep around with your mate, and not make a commitment.” Allura explained to Romelle.

“So… equals a permanent commitment to a Drule?” Romelle asked, and Allura nodded.

“That just about sums it up.”

“Oh….OH!” Romelle brought her fist to her mouth, and seemed to be struggling not to say something. She looked very upset in the moment, and Allura grew concerned.

“Cousin….what’s wrong?!” Romelle just shook her head, refusing to speak. “Are you ill?” Again Romelle wouldn’t answer her, and Allura sighed. “I can’t help you if you won’t speak to me!”

“No one can help me now!” Romelle announced, and to Allura’s shock, she burst into tears. Allura found herself joining Romelle on the cot, the princess wrapping her arms around her shaking cousin. Romelle twisted enough to sniffle against Allura’s shoulder, the princess rubbing her cousin’s back soothingly. But try as she might, Allura could not get Romelle to clarify what the reason behind her upset was. The only thing Romelle would say, was a repeated insistance that she had made a terrible mistake, which left Allura all the more confused.

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