White. It seemed the wrong color. Black was more appropriate, or some ugly, dark color. Not white.

Gloria stood, motionless at the giant oak doors, soon to swing open and reveal the huge arena before her. The ritual for Irken bonding, inherently simple, had already been met. Earth governments, once they grasped the precariousness of the situation, demanded their own customs fulfilled as well, with a wedding. And since it was a wedding that would ensure the survival of the planet, a massive arena had been constructed, to hold dignitaries from every land. Cameras from every angle would broadcast the ceremony to any not fortunate enough to be among the world's most influential and elite.

She would walk past a host of people she did not know, in a half-mile procession across the floor of the arena, down an aisle that was nearly a hiking trail. At the end of the aisle, she would be declared the wife of the Irken leader, Almighty Tallest Red, by the authorities of Earth.

She'd awoken in a soft, white bed, held down by all too familiar straps. She had begun screaming, hoping to wake up in the comfort of her own bed. All around her, Irken heads scrambled, trying to calm her, inject her, feed her something in a panic. A harsh word from the doorway scattered them, and long, armored arms reached into her vision to loosen the straps.

Immediately, she'd fled to the farthest corner of the room, curled in on herself, cowering. The silence stretched out, interrupted only by her gasps of air.

Nothing happened. No hands were laid on her, no claws raking her skin, no sudden darkness swallowing her sight. She shifted her head slightly, so she could see around the arm she'd curved over her head.

The drones in the room stood where they were, in awkward anxiety. Red stood by the medical bed she had vacated. He hadn't moved an inch. He merely looked at her, his face unreadable. On eye contact with her, he had finally spoken.

"Sempadinum has been formed." He spoke with authority. "Earth is now under the protection of Irk. We are currently in discussions with your," he shifted, "Multiple governments." He sounded perplexed at this, but moved on. "Your new station as co-ruler affords you all the protection Irk can offer… and no one can lay hand on you without your express permission."

It was the way he emphasized "no one" that gave her pause, calmed her trembling slightly. Then he had turned, and left the room.

She had not seen him again since then. All her needs had been attended to by drones, and occasionally a slightly higher ranking Irken would inform her of the ongoing discussions between the governments. The news was often delivered with confusion at how even small details took so much time and discussion, and at the sheer number of governments involved in the proceedings. She had laughed some at this, but the laugh rang hollow, and turned to tears.

The drones had swarmed her, asking if she was alright, was she hurt, and could they get her anything? She had screamed at them to leave. They had never so much as looked at her when she had begged for help before, she didn't want them now.

As they left, a shadow in the corner of the room moved, and slid over to her side, forming up under her arm. Gloria didn't say anything, just picked Gaz up into her arms and held her tightly. She'd known Gaz would come in time. After a few moments, Gaz had slipped away from Gloria, back to the corner, where she took up her post as a shadow for the wardrobe, watching.

The governments bickered and dithered for a few days, until Red had lost patience. He had, he reminded them, the ability to wipe all of them out, so they had better come to an agreement and soon so that they could settle down for a peaceable intergalactic treaty. This had decided them rather quickly, and two weeks from the appearance of Irken ships in the sky, the wedding was held.

And so, she stood there, dressed in white, her purple hair braided and hanging down the back. Her eyes stared at the door blankly, as she heard the music cue their opening. She would endure the processional. She would endure the ceremony. And when he kissed her, as custom declared, she would not faint.

Fainting was for the fearful. And when one was stone, there was no need for fear.

Note: Shorter than usual chapter, but wanted to get this up and going. Here goes people, hold onto your hats! Also, story art done by the lovely Kazehana23!