Episode 1 - The Trilogy Part 1: New School Defenders

Allura hiked up her skirt as she hurried through the hallways of the mostly empty castle. She fought back the temptation to break into a run. The echoing sound of each footstep would no doubt catch the attention of Head Councilor Deltrek the moment she moved faster than her current pace. She cursed the earlier impulse that had led to her wearing the hard soled shoes instead of the softer slippers that she usually wore to council meetings.

She had assumed that with Nanny's retirement and Coran's assignment as Arus' Ambassador to the Galaxy Alliance, that she would finally be shown the respect that the twenty-six-year-old ruler of a battle scarred planet deserved from her council. Instead, the council, led by Councilor Deltrek, had continued to treat her as an innocent and sheltered twelve-year-old. It didn't seem to register to them that as the pilot of the blue lion, she had seen more battles than all of the council put together. They had been too busy hiding in their homes and shelters during the Drule Wars.

She gave a low growl and shook her head. Today was not the day to get bogged down emotionally by the old men on the council. Today was a joyful day. Old friends were returning and new friends were arriving. It was a day of celebration.

She made her way to the front foyer of the castle. She came to a halt at the sight of Councilor Deltrek. She dropped her skirt and stared the older man in the eye. "Is there something I can help you with, Councilor?"

"We were not done with our discussion, Your Highness. There is still much we need to plan for."

"I agree, Councilor and I will return to the meeting as soon as I great our new arrivals."

The Councilor gave her a wan smile. "Ah yes. Pilot Lance is arriving, isn't he?"

Allura straightened at the hint of contempt in his voice. "Commander Lance is, yes. He is also bringing two young cadets who will be training with us."

The Councilor took a step forward. "Are you sure this is wise, Your Highness? Surely the Alliance will not look favorably on us if we are hosts to those who would become rebels."

Allura gave him a humorless smile. "When was the last time the Alliance looked at us favorably. Now, if you'll excuse me the transport will be arriving shortly. I'll be back at the meeting within the hour."

Deltrek sighed. "We've postponed the rest of the meeting until tomorrow morning. Take your time with our guests." He gave her a small bow before turning on his heel and leaving the foyer. She stared after him for a moment before giving herself a small shake.

Deltrek wasn't a bad man. He just wasn't a very good one either. He thought too much about himself and not enough about the people he was supposed to be serving. The years after Voltron had been decommissioned had not been easy on the people of Arus. Many of the members of the Galaxy Alliance had followed the lead of Earth and had, if not turned their backs on Arus, been less likely to lend as much assistance in rebuilding the war-torn planet as they might have otherwise.

She couldn't blame the leaders of the other planets for not doing as much. General Wade was not a man you wanted to find your planet on the wrong side of. It had been obvious for quite some time that Wade had never liked Voltron, his many rants on the subject had proven that quite clearly, but the speed in which he moved to lock down the lions after the incident at the Galaxy Victory Celebration had made it clear that Wade was not the type to negotiate.

She made a soft noise of dismay. A joyful day, she reminded herself. Lance was coming home and the other members would soon follow. Don't focus on the bad. She picked up her skirt once again and hurried for the landing area.

As she approached the grassy meadow that they used for the rare transport ships that came to the castle she looked up. Lance's ship was a small dot in the sky that gradually got larger. She stood at the edge of the meadow as the ship descended. Once the transport came to a landing she strode forward.

The side doors opened and she smiled at the young faces staring at her in surprise. She thought over the short files that Pidge had sent her, the young Asian male was Daniel and the young Black male was Vince if she was remembering correctly. She was careful not to look at the older man who appeared behind them. "Welcome to Arus," she said as they stepped out of the ship. She raised her arm towards the castle. "And welcome to the Castle of Lions."

She kept her gaze on the two young cadets who looked up at the castle. "Whoa," Daniel breathed. "Where's the black key?"

Allura frowned at the non sequitur, but figured that it was a question in response to an earlier line of discussion on the ship when Lance answered.

"I assure you, it's in good wrists," he said, looking up at the castle.

She finally looked at the pilot of the red lion. It took all of her will power to keep from throwing herself into his arms. She hadn't expected to react quite so much to the sight of one of her team mates but he had been a virtual shoulder to cry on during the six years that the team was separated.

His gaze turned to her and a huge smile spread over his face. "Daniel, Vince, this is the blue lion pilot and the ruler of this beautiful planet, the ever so lovely Princess Allura. Your Majesty, if I might introduce the newest members of the Voltron Force, Daniel and Vince."

"Your Majesty," Vince said with a slight head bob.

Allura shook her head and gave Lance a scolding look. She looked at the cadets and smiled. "Daniel, Vince, please ignore Lance's horrible sense of humor. Feel free to call me Allura in private. It's only in formal situations that I ask to be called by my title." She turned back to Lance. "Or shall I start calling you Commander?"

Lance laughed. "Good to see your sense of humor hasn't changed, Princess." He gave the two boys a soft shove. "Come on. Let's get you guys inside."

Allura let the way back to the castle. "I'm sure you are all quite hungry and tired after your journey. I had a meal prepared for you and I thought after eating you might like to get some sleep. We'll have a thorough tour of the castle tomorrow."

"Sounds good to me," Daniel said. She looked back at the two boys and grinned at the way they were both attempting to break their necks by trying to look at everything at once. Lance caught her eye and gave her a wink. She smiled as she shook her head at him, which only caused his smile to widen.

She led them to the informal dining room where she ate with the few members of her family left. The table had been piled with the best foods Arus had to offer. Lance inhaled deeply as he stepped into the room. "This is one thing I missed. The food at the Academy wasn't half as good as even the worst meal I had here."

"I hope the food wasn't the only thing you missed," Allura teased.

Lance turned to face her and his smile softened. "Not even close, Princess."

She felt her face heat with a blush. She turned her attention on the cadets. Even a small acknowledgment that he'd gotten to her would cause even more flirting. Lance had always been that way with every woman who crossed his path. Young or old, beautiful or plain, rich or poor, they all had been charmed by the smooth talking pilot.

She started to explain what each dish was to the cadets when the door opened with a hiss. She looked up to find one of the techs standing nervously in the doorway. "Yes, Nila?"

"You Majesty, there's a message from Ambassador Coran on the feed for you."

"Thank you, Nila, I'll be right there."

Nila gave a quick bob before hurrying out of the room. Allura turned to the others. "If you'll excuse me, I have to take this. Please sit and eat, I'm sure Lance can fill you in on what the rest of the dishes are. I believe most of them are his favorites."

"Yeah, I noticed that the cook went all out for me." The look in his eyes didn't match the jovialness in his voice. She gave him a reassuring smile before leaving the room. She quickly made her way to the communications center where Nila waited for her.

Nila pointed her to a station and then left the room. Allura quickly glanced over the feed information before punching her Den code into the station. The feed was one of the ones the team had used over the years to communicate behind Wade's back. It had become an invaluable link that Allura and Lance had used quite often to deal with the pressures they had been under.

It hadn't been easy for either of them. Wade had leaned heavily on Lance, always waiting for him to make a mistake and prove that he was loyal to Voltron and not to Wade. Every time Keith had pulled a new stunt and had destroyed something of Wade's, Wade had interrogated Lance for hours. More than one night's sleep had been lost while she comforted Lance over the communication feed, assuring him that no one thought that he had betrayed Voltron or the Force.

She smiled at the screen as Coran's image appeared. "Coran, it's good to see you."

"And you, Princess. I'm assuming that our three new arrivals are there?"

"They are indeed. They are currently enjoying some of Arus' best food and beverages."

"That is good to hear. Pidge asked me to inform you that Keith is out of Wade's base and he has the black lion with him."

Allura couldn't hold back a laugh of relief. "That is excellent. So they are all on their way here?"

"Commander Keith is. Hunk is transferring all of their equipment to their ship and Pidge is working with Keith over the comms to try and keep him flying. He said that Wade had and I quote 'screwed up black pretty badly'."

"But they believe that he can make it to Arus?"

"They are hoping so, but if he can't, Pidge and Hunk will be right behind him to lend assistance."

"Good. Hopefully we'll have enough time to get the black lion fixed before Wade sends his soldiers here." Allura glanced down at the console. "Did we do the right thing, Coran or have I condemned my people to yet another bloody war."

"You did the only thing. With the rumors of the Drule Empire returning and this Kala asking about Lotor, there was nothing else you could have done."

"But what if that's all it was? Rumors that lead to nothing."

"We couldn't take that risk. You know that."

Allura closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "You're right. This was needed." She opened her eyes and straightened her shoulders. "You are packing as well right? You'll be catching a ride with Hunk and Pidge?"

Coran shook his head. "No, Princess. I'm staying here. There needs to be at least one voice of reason in the Alliance. Perhaps I can convince some of the other planets to come to our aid once Voltron is back."

Allura frowned at the older man. "I don't like it, Coran. You know Wade will be furious and you would be an easy target for him to take that anger out on."

"That is a risk I must take."

She sighed in defeat. "Fine. Just, be safe, Coran. I can't loose you."

"You have my word, Princess. If it starts to look as though Wade is thinking of arresting me, I'll be on the first transport off of Earth."


"Now, I believe you have guests to attend to."

"Guests? What guests? It's just Lance and two kids that are following him around like little kittens," she said with a grin.

"I will speak with you later, Princess. Give my best to Lance."

"I will. Be safe." She reached out and turned off the feed. Her smile fell of her face. She knew he was right about needed to be a voice of reason but it didn't make her feel any better about him being there. The other news he gave was much better though. Keith had the black lion and what on his way. The final puzzle piece was falling into place. Soon the Defender of the Universe would be back and nothing would stop him.

She went back to the dining room and found that the three travelers had made a good sized dent in the platters of food on the table. She made a mental note to tell the kitchen staff to plan on large sized meals for the growing teenage boys. Lance glanced up at her as she entered and she gave him a reassuring smile and a nod.

He grinned back at her and then continued with the story he had been in the middle of recounting. She took a seat at the table next to him and frowned as he placed several items on the plate in front of her without a break in his story.

When she pushed the plate away, he, without turning to look, pushed the plate back. When he stopped to take a breath she broke in.

"I've already eaten, Lance. I don't need anything else."

He turned to look at her. "Uh huh. You last ate five hours ago. You need something else. You've always been horrible at keeping track of when you ate. You get too busy and Aneta informed me that you've been in a closed door session with nothing but water for the past four hours so don't tell me you had a snack between then and now."

Allura glanced over at the two boys who watched them in obvious fascination. She took a large breath before pulling the plate back in front of her. She wasn't hungry, but she also had no wish to argue in front of the cadets. She gave him a look that promised retaliation at a later time and then picked up her fork.

Lance started back in on his story and the cadet's attentions where drawn back to him. She gave a soft laugh at the story he was telling. It wasn't one of Pidge's best moments. He had been going through a growth spurt at the time and had been quite clumsy. After a few stories and a few additions and corrections to Lance's stories, Allura noticed the cadets trying to hide yawns.

"If everyone has eaten their fill, I think it's time to show you to your quarters," she said putting her fork down. She glared at Lance as he glanced at the now empty plate and grinned at her.

"Sounds good," Vince said as he stood up.

Daniel followed suit. "Yeah, it's been a long day."

"I'm sure it has." She rose to her feet and started towards the door. "We've place the two of you into a shared room for now. I figured that you would be more comfortable rooming together for the first couple of days, until you get used to the castle. We can always give you more private rooms later." She led them down the hallway towards the residence wing. She stopped in front of one of the doors and pressed her hand against the plate. The door slid open to reveal a large room with two bunk beds, desks, and dressers. The cadets' bags were placed on the floor next to the beds.

She and Lance stood just inside the doorway as the two boys explored their room. Allura pointed to one of the closed doors. "That door leads to the bathroom and those two are closets. If you need anything the comm system is there. Just let who ever is on duty know what you need and it will be provided. Within reason of course," she said with a smile.

Daniel grinned at her. "Of course." He climbed up to the top bunk. "I claim this one!"

Vince looked up at him and shook his head. "That's fine. I like being closer to the ground."

"Well, we'll leave you two to get some sleep. Don't stay up too late talking, it'll be an early morning for everyone," Lance said as he opened the door.

"Good night, Cadets. I'm very pleased to have you with us," Allura said with a smile.

"Night," Vince and Daniel called out.

The door closed behind Lance and Allura. The red lion pilot grinned at her. "You can kill me in the privacy of my own quarters okay? The boys deserve some uninterrupted sleep."

Allura glared at him. "Oh don't worry. I can wait."

Lance backed away with his hands raised. "You know, that really shouldn't have been as intimidating as it was. But then you've always been more than a little vicious," he said with a grin.

"Oh, I'll show you vicious."

Lance took off down the hallway with her in close pursuit. He made his way through the corridors towards his quarters with her just out of reach. He slapped his hand on the panel to his room and jumped inside as soon as the door had opened wide enough for him to fit.

She slid in after him and then had to come to a halt immediately in order to avoid running into the back of him. She leaned around him and looked up at him. The expression on his face was one of surprise.

"It looks exactly how I left it," he whispered.

She placed her hand on his shoulder. The worn leather of his jacket was soft under her fingers. "I gave orders that nothing was supposed to be moved. Other than items that could spoil and someone came in once a week to dust. I also had them come in this morning and give you new linens and towels. The kitchen is also partially stocked." She gave his shoulder a slight squeeze before stepping around him. "I knew you would all come back and I wanted you to know that you would always be welcome here. That this was your home. At least I felt it was. I never knew if you-"

"Allura," Lance interrupted. She turned around to face him. He stood with his arms open wide. "Come here."

She quickly stepped into his reach and his arms wrapped around her, pulling her tight against him. She rested her cheek against his shoulder as her arms wrapped around his waist. She felt his cheek against the top of her head.

"I missed this place more than I could ever say, Allura. This is home to me. I know Hunk and Pidge feel the same way too. Ever time we talked about coming back, it was always 'when we get home I'm gonna'. We all knew that when it was time to retire and turn the keys to the lions over to some young buck that we were going to ask to stay here."

"Good. That's very good to know. Before the incident I had Coran make up some proclamations for me. I was planning on showing them to the team that night. They were proclamations making all of you Arusian citizens. I didn't want the Galaxy Alliance to send you anywhere else. I didn't know if you all would want them though."

"Ah, Princess. Never doubt it. We would have jumped on that offer so fast it would have made your head spin." He pressed a light kiss to the top of her head. "But I'll be honest. I missed something even more than the planet and the red lion. I missed the team. I missed you."

One tear tracked down her face. "I missed you too. Talking on the comms wasn't enough. Not knowing that Wade could put you in jail at anytime."

"Hey, Pidge, Hunk, and I were very careful. Wade had no reason to doubt us. I turned in so many people for talking about Voltron." He gave a humorless laugh. "I'm sure there are scores of people now who think I'm a total bastard and traitor to Voltron. I know Daniel and Vince thought so."

"Maybe they do, but it won't be long before they find out why you did it. That you never believed the things that Wade said. You had a reason, a very good one. It's not easy being undercover." She leaned back and unwrapped her arms from around his waist. She cradled his face in her hands. "They'll understand why you did it, and if they don't, then they aren't the kind of people we want supporting the Voltron Force. We have to be adaptable."

He gave her a soft smile. "Yeah, I guess you're right."

"Of course I'm right. I'm the Princess."

Lance snorted and pulled her back into the embrace. "So what did Coran have to say?"

"How did you know it was Coran?" she asked, settling back into her former position.

"I guessed."

She slapped her hand against his back. "He said that Keith is out of Wade's base and has black lion but Pidge side that Wade really messed it up. Pidge and Hunk are both preparing to leave Earth and follow Keith on his way here. Coran is staying there, he wants to be a voice of reason. I'm not sure how far reason is going to get with Wade in control."

"He'll be fine. Coran is good at watching his back."

"I know." She gave him a hard squeeze and then pulled back out of his embrace. "You need to get some sleep. If I know you, you've been checking and double checking and triple checking all of your plans these past few days, and not bothering to get any sleep. We've got a very long day tomorrow. I have to start with finishing the meeting with the council, then I need to take the cadets on a tour. We need to come up with a training curriculum for them. I have voltcoms for them, but they'll need to learn how to use them."

"I can handle that tomorrow. You introduce them to the voltcoms and then I'll get the started on learning how to use them. That should free you up for anything else the council will want from you."

"And what makes you think they'll want anything from me?"

"They're the same guys as they were six years ago right? Then they'll want you to be running around getting answers for them." Lance frowned at her.

She gave him a cocky smile. "You'd be surprised at what I stopped taking from them. They might still treat me like they think I'm twelve, but I don't take it as quietly as I used to. I started fighting back."

He raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Really? Do tell."

She laughed. "Later. After you've gotten some sleep. I can see the dark circles under your eyes."

Lance gasped. "Oh no! Do you have some cucumber slices? I'm sure the puffiness is just horrific!"

She narrowed her eyes at him. "Ha ha." She gave his shoulder a gentle smack. "Go. To. Bed."

"Yes, Your Majesty." He pulled her into a quick, hard hug before pressing a kiss to the top of her head. "It's good to see you, Allura. Sleep well, m' lady." He let her go and opened the door for her.

"Good night, Lance. It's so good to have you back home." She stepped out into the hallway and the door slid closed behind her.

The End.

Voltron Force Bedroom