In the time it took Allura and her husband to receive the individual congratulations of the crowd of attendees, the ball room had been transformed. It was a subtle reworking of the seats, the benches removed, leaving a large empty space in the center of the floor. That space was currently empty, everyone seated by the tables, the dishes still covered as they gave their undivided attention to the wedding party.
Allura sat with Lotor at the center of one such table, doing an open show of holding hands as she leaned into his shoulder. She knew she was beaming with pride and happiness, and not even tears of the joyful kind threatened to ruin her good-natured expression. Her husband, and she loved calling him that, was currently nuzzling her ear, lips whispering sweet things which made her giggle softly.
No one seemed to care that she wasn’t giving them her full attention, Allura more concentrated on the touch of Lotor’s hand, and the way he rubbed his cheek against her hair. He hadn’t been able to stop touching her, not since their first kiss as a married couple. All through the congratulating words of the guests, he had stood with an arm around her waist, keeping her pressed against his side as he listened to the words spoken.
Now in between kisses he whispered sinful things, increasing her interest, and her need to be with him. Allura wondered how they’d make it through the rest of the reception, especially with Lotor nibbling on her ear like that! She giggled once more, tempted to turn her face and catch at Lotor’s lips with her own. But Coran was currently speaking, occasionally tapping a spoon against a covered dish in an attempt to hold everyone’s attention.
She knew she should be paying attention to his words, especially when some of what Coran said made the guests cheer in approval. But all she wanted was to be alone with her husband, Allura feeling as though a bubble existed around them. A bubble that kept them self contained in their own little world, where nothing and no one could touch down on their happiness.
Not even Nanny, who was still crying, could intrude, the woman incapable of regaining control of herself. Coran frowned at her when she let out a particularly loud sob during his speech, the man seeming put out at having her sobbing be the background to his words.
Soon it came time for Nanny’s turn, the woman snatching the microphone out of Coran’s hands. Amazingly enough, she had managed to tone down her tears to a brief blubber, the woman sniffling as she spoke. “I’m so proud on this day…” Nanny said, smiling through her tears at Allura. “My baby is all grown up! And such a beautiful bride she makes.”
A choked out sob, Nanny seeming overcome for the moment. “You are a lucky, lucky man, your highness.” She said to Lotor, and her eyes narrowed in a threat. “Do not ever disappoint the princess. Ever!”
Lotor reacted enough to make a promise, nodding his head. “I won’t. You have my word on that.” He followed those words with a kiss in Allura’s hair, and she beamed a beautiful smile at Nanny.
The older woman seemed to sigh in defeat, though she wasn’t done with her speech. She began to launch into a detailed account of raising Allura, from the time when she had been just a baby, and then the dark times that followed after the death of her parents. Some of her remembering made the guests laugh, some of them having been castle servants during that time. They could remember some of what Nanny said, and they looked on those memories fondly.
Across the table from the newly wedded pair was her cousin, Romelle, the girl resplendent in several shades of purple. She’d occasionally catch Allura’s eye, and share a smile between them, Romelle seeming genuinely happy for her cousin on this day. Allura just wished she could smile in the direction of the man seated next to her cousin, Romelle doing her best to avoid even looking in his direction.
It didn’t stop Sabbath from trying to gain her attention, the Drule reaching out to caress fingers on the outside of Romelle’s arm. Romelle seemed to jump in place at that touch, darting a quick glance at Sabbath who seemed unable to resist touching her. For one instant Romelle’s face was open with confused emotion, and then it blanking out, the girl reaching for her wine glass.
Allura noted the unsteady way she handled the glass, Romelle’s hand shaking as she lifted it to her lips. Sabbath’s fingers continued their stoking movements, and no one else seemed to notice, certainly not Nanny who would have thrown a fit over his audacity.
Romelle finished with her wine, and took the microphone from Nanny, acting overeager to do her speech. “I…I want you to know I’ve had my doubts.” Romelle began, voice holding an uncertain note to it. “Sometimes I still do. It wasn’t the best of first impressions between your husband and I.”
The crowd let out uncertain laughter, by now all knew that Lotor and his men had taken the two princesses prisoners aboard his ship. “But I’ve seen the way he treats you. The love he has for you. A love he gave up much for…..He fought a war for you Allura, and what’s more he helped win it. That in and of itself is amazing to me…”
“It’s amazing to me too…” Allura admitted, and turned to kiss Lotor on the lips. “I didn’t believe in love, not in the way the Drules believed. I’m glad I gave myself the chance to experience it with Lotor. My life is richer for it.” She met Romelle’s gaze, and was unable to keep from offering advice. “Everyone should embrace love when offered to them, no matter what race or gender or status they are of. Life is too short to go without it, you know?”
“So it is…” agreed Romelle, but her smile seemed strained. She continued her speech, talking about the kind of man Allura used to dream of marrying, and how Lotor seemed to fit that image quite nicely. “Of course…” Romelle added, a hint of mischief in her voice. “My cousin never imagined her husband would be blue!”
That got more laughter, and then Romelle was handing the microphone to Sabbath. She tried to do the exchange without touching him, but somehow their fingers touched all the same. Allura could have sworn her cousin blushed at the touch, the girl quickly sitting down as Sabbath stood. He seemed uncertain as to what to say, pausing a moment as he gathered his thoughts.
“I’m not good with speeches.” Sabbath said at last. “But I am honored to be asked to speak for the prince and the princess, and the bond they forged together. Mating is sacred among the Drule…it is the finding of your other half, your soul mate. Your life is not complete without your mate…it is a difficult thing to explain to those who have never experienced the mating bond, the depth of emotion that ties you to that other person. It is an experience that changes you, but the change is for the better. Finding our other half, the love of our lives is something we should all strive for…I am glad that Lotor had the fortune to encounter his mate, your princess, and that she opened her heart to him in return.”
“So am I!” Lotor said, his tone serious though his words gain laughter from the humans.
“I know that love is different for you humans” continued Sabbath. “You need time to get to know each other, time to accept what is instantaneous for we Drule.” His eyes seemed to seek out Romelle’s, Sabbath still speaking. “But just because it happens quicker for us, doesn’t mean we don’t feel it any more than you do.” He paused for a second, seeming overcome with emotion. “We feel too much perhaps…a love that can be devastating if not returned…”
That seemed to be the end of his speech, Sabbath glancing around for someone to take the microphone from him. Gloria stepped up, and she began to speak happily, quickly making everyone forget the awkward way Sabbath had ended his speech. She talked about first noticing the attraction between Lotor and Allura as they made their escape, during the long trek through the woods. She marveled at how devoted Lotor had already been to Allura, and how she wished she had a love that could compare to the one that was apparent between the wedded royals.
There was others who took their turn giving speeches, and then the microphone was being passed to the other tables. There the people would speak, leaving heart felt messages to be recorded on a holo device. Allura and Lotor would be able to view these messages any time they wished, the moments frozen in time on the holo film.
As the messages were being recorded, people began to enjoy the feast that had been prepared. Much chatter was had, people holding their own conversations now as Lotor and Allura fussed over each other. Occasionally Allura would scoop up some delicacy, and offer it up to Lotor, the spoon feeding being caught on camera at one point. He took it good-naturedly, eating what she offered, then stealing kisses from her lips. His kisses would be tinged with the flavor of whatever he had just been fed, and Allura found herself giving him more and more sweet flavored food.
Music continued to be piped in over the speakers, there hadn’t been time to get a live band to play at the reception. Allura didn’t care, listening as a mix of classical and contemporary songs played, and even one or two Drule songs were snuck in amidst the Arusian ones. When one of her favorite love ballads came on, she turned to Lotor, excitement in her eyes.
“It’s time our first dance as a married couple.” She informed him, already tugging on his hands as she stood. He seemed slow to stand, looking curious as to why she was so excited. “Lotor, come on!” Allura added with a laugh, determined to drag her hesitating husband to the center of the ball room’s floor.
“What is the hurry?” He asked, allowing himself to be led out past the tables.
“It’s tradition!” She explained, then added. “And no one else can dance until we have shared the first dance.” The lights were already dimming, a spot light falling on Lotor and Allura. She couldn’t see the people at the tables anymore, it was too dark around them. But Lotor was drawing her into his arms, one hand on the small of her back as he pressed her close to him.
Smiling, Allura held his right hand, and used her free hand to hold up her skirts. They began to slow dance to the music, twirling and swaying, and she thought she heard a few sighs of appreciation from their graceful movements. When the dance was over, a smattering of applause broke out, Allura spying the holo photographer filming her with her husband. She smiled all the brighter, an effortless projection of how happy she was as she and Lotor moved to the beat of a new song.
Other couples were joining them on the dance floor now, and even the little girl who had been the flower girl ran about the dancers. Her mother could be heard chastising the child, chasing after her daughter in an effort to keep her out of the way of the dancers. Lotor and Allura continued to slow dance, and he too was smiling just as much as the princess was.
“I can’t wait to get you alone.” Lotor told her, and his look was smoldering, letting her know just exactly what he wanted to do with her. “Two days was really two days too long to go without your touch.”
Allura nodded, knowing it had been difficult for her to keep away from him as well. “It won’t be much longer…” Allura tried to reassure him. “We only need stay for the cutting of the cake, and to open the presents. And then enough time will have passed for us to be justified in leaving the party.” She knew the party would continue even after they left, if there was one thing the Arusians liked, it was a good celebration.
“Even another minute is too long to wait!” groaned Lotor, and dipped her slowly towards the floor.
“Patience my love…” Allura advised him. “We’ll soon have all the time we need to be alone together.”
“Indeed we will.” Lotor grinned. “I’ve given explicit instructions that we are not to be disturbed, not for any matter.” He bent over her with a wicked smirk, lips quivering over hers as he spoke. “After the…warning I’ve given my men, they would be fools to go against my orders.”
She couldn’t help but shiver, wondering what sort of threats he had given the Drules to get them to obey. Lotor kissed her then, and helped her upright, never pulling apart from her lips. She was vaguely aware that some people were watching them kiss, nudging each other and laughing gently. And then she was overtaken by Lotor’s passion, her hands adjusting their holds so that she clung to his jacket.
“We’ll be alone for days…” Lotor said when the kiss finally ended. He wasn’t even breathless, nonchalant save the twinkle in his eyes. “I’ve taken care to arrange everything we could want or need. We may not be able to go anywhere for this…this honeymoon custom of your people, but by God I will make sure the time we spend will be just as special here as if we went elsewhere.”
“I believe you.” Allura told him. “But Lotor, really…I don’t need any fancy destination. Just being with my husband is enough to make me happy.”
“Still…I want to do right by you.” Lotor insisted. “Perhaps once the war is over with, and things have settled down, we can take the time to go somewhere nice. It doesn’t even have to be off the planet, I’m sure we could visit one of the other kingdoms on Arus.”
“I’m sure we could.” She agreed with a smile. “There are places I want to show you….I used to visit many of the other kingdoms when I was smaller, traveling with my parents. Arus is a beautiful world, I would like you to see just what you fought for.”
“I fought first and foremost for you.” Lotor was serious now, turning her around on the dance floor. “Arus could have been the ugliest of worlds, and I still would have fought for it. Just to make you happy.”
“Thank you…I appreciate it…more than perhaps I can convey with words…”
“Then don’t use words alone…” His seriousness fled in the face of mischief, Lotor smirking. “Show me your gratitude tonight when you are in my arms.” She was giggling at that, even as he leaned in to nuzzle the side of her hair. For a second she thought it was he who growled, Allura hearing the sound, low and dangerous. She quickly realized it couldn’t be Lotor, he had no reason to sound so angry, even as the prince stiffened. His hands kept a hold on her arms, but Lotor was turning, cautiously to scan the crowd.
Allura turned too, trying to figure out which of the Drules gathered at the reception had made that sound. She looked around, and saw that many were gazing about the room, puzzled and trying to figure out what that noise was. And then it sounded again, louder this time, and no less angry.
With a start of shock, she realized it came from Sabbath, the black haired Drule staring across the room at something. She turned to look, at the same time Lotor muttered something in his native language. His tone had a forceful quality to it, and she echoed it, although her voice was tinged with dismay as she spied her cousin. Romelle was standing next to the tall pilot of blue lion, Sven looking handsome in his suit.
Sven was leaning in close to Romelle, her hand on his arm, as the princess listened intently to whatever the pilot was saying. The pair seemed oblivious to the growls from across the room, or the fact that more and more people had stopped dancing to look and see what had Sabbath so upset.
“Oh no…” Allura said it with a wince, aware that Lotor was still clutching her protectively to him. “Romelle…!”
“What is that cousin of yours up to?!” Lotor demanded, his own voice holding an annoyed growl to it. “Does she not realize she plays with fire?”
“I’m not sure what my cousin is thinking…” Allura muttered with a sigh. “I just hope…” She trailed off, noting Sabbath was stalking towards the pair, his eyes narrowed into a fierce glare. He seemed focus on the hand Romelle had laid on Sven’s arm, and his lips were drawn back to reveal his pointed fangs. Allura had a bad feeling about this, but before she could do more than say her husband’s name, Sabbath had reached Romelle.
Romelle hadn’t noticed Sabbath’s approach, or perhaps she was that good of an actor. But Sven had, and the pilot did a double take, surprise showing in his dark eyes. Before the pilot could say more than a few words, Sabbath had grabbed Romelle by the arm, jerking her forcefully away from Sven.
“HEY!” Romelle exclaimed, and whirled around to stared in wide eyed surprise at Sabbath. She blinked several times, and then was trying to draw her arm back. “Just what do you think you are doing?! Let go of me!”
In response, Sabbath seemed to tighten his hold on her arm, his voice so low that Allura strained to make out his words. Romelle seemed to gasp at whatever Sabbath had said, and Sven reacted, reaching out to grab Sabbath’s arm. “You heard the princess! Let her go!” Sven was demanding in his heavy accented voice. His hand barely touched Sabbath, and the Drule reacted by lashing out, backhanding Sven across the face.
One blow was all it took for Sven to go down, the pilot stunned and dropping to his knees. The watching crowd seemed to gasp, the humans horrified by this behavior. Allura put her hands over her face, groaning in displeasure.
Romelle was stunned, staring at Sabbath with her jaw dropped open. “You….you…” She sputtered ineffectually, seeming at a loss for words.
“You’re coming with me!” Sabbath announced, his glare seeming to dare her to say otherwise. Romelle blinked, and then was shaking her head, trying to twist her arm free of his grip.
“I most certainly am not!” She protested loudly. “I am not going to let you man handle me off somewhere! Let go! And how could you do that to poor Sven?!”
“Sven?” Another rumbled out growl, Sabbath snarling out the human’s name. “Sven had no business interfering. YOU had no business touching him!”
Keith and the other Voltron pilots were heading Sabbath’s way, and Allura feared the reception was about to turn into an all out brawl. Especially when Lotor called out a command in Drule, several of the soldiers moving to intercept the Voltron force.
“What are you doing?!” cried Nanny, aghast. “That savage should be arrested!”
“Nanny, don’t make things worse!” Allura told her. ‘This is…this is…”
“This is what?” The older woman demanded, hands on her hips. Only Coran’s hand on her shoulder kept her from rushing to where Sabbath and Romelle stood.
“This is a matter between them.” Lotor supplied for Allura. “They need to settle things, one way or another…”
“Settle things?” Nanny looked confused, and Allura wasn’t in a hurry to explain. “Settle what?” She then paled, gasping. “Oh no….don’t tell me this is what I think it is?!”
“Everyone stand down.” Allura advised, ignoring Nanny’s cried out question. “Sabbath won’t hurt Romelle…” But he would hurt anyone who tried to interfere, she could tell that much, watching as Sabbath began dragging a protesting Romelle out of the ball room. The human guards looked uncertain, but they had heard their princess’ command, allowing Sabbath to move unimpeded out the door.
One last protesting squawk from Romelle, the girl practically stumbling as she tried to keep up with Sabbath’s fast pace. And then they vnaished out of sight, and ear shot, the watching crowd erupting into speculative talk. Nanny and Coran were hurrying towards Lotor and Allura, the princess wondering what if anything she could say to them.
“Princess Allura, please tell me the truth!” At least Nanny wasn’t crying, not yet anyway, her eyes brimming with upset. “Does that savage think….think Romelle is his?!”
“He’s not a savage…” Allura defended, knowing her words were weak in the face of Sabbath’s actions. “He’s just…torn up inside over what is going on between him and Romelle.”
“And that is what exactly?” demanded Coran, his stern expression not betraying what he felt.
Allura fidgeted in place, and it was Lotor who answered, hugging her protectively to him. “She’s his mate.” Nanny let out a theatrical gasp, and looked near ready to faint. She actually stumbled backwards, and Coran caught at her body, keeping her up right.
“No…” moaned Nanny, as though being a Drule’s mate was a fate worse than death. “It can’t be…not Romelle….”
“How long have you known?” Coran asked, glancing back and forth between Lotor and Allura.
“A while now…” hedged Allura, and Coran frowned.
“Define a while.” He insisted, and Allura sighed.
“Since the night he first came to the castle.”
“What?!” Nanny made a move to faint again, and Coran was left supporting most of her weight. “Oh I knew he couldn’t be trusted, breaking into the princess’ bedroom!”
“He won’t harm her.” Lotor told them. “He hasn’t yet, and I know he won’t start now. They just need to talk, to realize some things.”
“Yes. They just need this time to discuss their situation. It’s best we leave them alone for now.” Allura said, and Nanny burst into tears.
“It’s hopeless!” She wailed. “These Drule brutes are so single minded and determined, he won’t ever leave her alone until she breaks down and agrees to be his! Oh! Oh Coran, what are we going to tell her father?! We failed him!”
“We won’t tell him anything just yet.” Coran decided, and Allura nodded in approval. “Nothing has been decided about Romelle and her relationship to Sabbath. They’re just talking…..” But even he sounded doubtful.
Nanny continued to cry, fumbling for a handkerchief to blow her nose into. Allura sighed, and stepped away from Lotor, moving to lead Nanny over to one of the tables. The woman collapsed into a chair, and let Allura fetch her a glass of water. As she did this, she heard Gloria lamenting to Marie and Kyrie, something about how only princesses seemed to have luck when it came to attracting Drule males. That would have ordinarily made Allura laugh, but right now she was so frazzled over the events that had just occurred, she could barely keep from shaking.
She kept sending anxious glances towards the doors that led out of the ball room, Allura wondering if the pair would return anytime soon. She wanted to run out and find them, if only to find out what was going on. And yet she didn’t dare trespass, instead handing Nanny the glass, and dutifully staying by the crying woman’s side. Lotor continued to talk with Coran, no doubt about Sabbath and Romelle, and she sighed, wondering if the rest of the wedding reception was now ruined.