"The Ambassadors of Arus."

Story by Adele
Story Copyright 2002
A story based on the series, "Voltron, The Third Dimension"

The characters of Voltron are the property of World Event Productions.  All other characters are the copyright of Adele.  Please do not use them without asking for permission.  Thank you.

Enjoy!


Chapter 9
Rejection and Deceit

The village was alive with the day's activities.  No one seemed to mind that Utan was not among them... everyone except Amy.  She was concerned.  Utan was special to her he reminded her of a child, as did many of the villagers.  That's why it was so easy to lead amongst people who would follow anyone.

Keith appeared through the forest brush, Utan next to him.  Behind him were Lance, Allura, Pidge and Hunk.  Amy came running up to Utan and hugged him.  "Where have you been all night?  I was worried!"

Utan shrugged his shoulders.  "Utan okay.  Not be worried."

She hugged him, then instructed him to join the others in the village, while she talked to Keith.  Utan nodded and walked away.

Amy threw herself, once again, into Keith's arms.  "Oh Keith..." she began.  "I was so worried for you!  I'm so glad you're safe!"

Keith took his hands and pushed her off of him.  "Amy..." he began with a grunt. 

She frowned at him.  "Oh Keith...  I was just being nice."

"A bit too nice, I think."  He replied, also frowning.  "You and I need to talk... right now!" 

He grabbed her and marched her around toward her house.  He stopped and turned his head toward his team.  "Its too late to start out today.  Well go for it first thing tomorrow morning.  You guys come up with a plan of action.  I'll be back shortly."  He turned back to Amy and walked off with her.

Allura watched them go.  Lance came over to her.  He could see the troubled look she had on her face.  "Don't worry, Allura.  He's going to put an end to this."

She sighed aloud.  "I'm not so sure..." she said quietly.

"Sure about what?"  He asked.  "Princess, Keith knows his priorities... especially when it comes to you.  Although he won't admit it to you or anyone else."

"Well, do I have a right to be concerned for a woman of Keith's past?  I mean... that is... what I meant to say... is that Keith and I... well we aren't officially a... well..." she fumbled. 
"I mean... he's never actually said... he's only insinuated..."


Lance smiled.  "In Keith's mind, she poses a threat to what his intentions are with you."  He put his hand on her shoulder.  "You see, Princess. He's in love with you.  I'm sure of it.  But he's not ready to completely come out with it.  He'd roll over dead, if he thought it would benefit you."

She grimaced at his choice of words, but got the basis of what he was trying to say.  Keith's feelings ran deep for her.  And although he hadn't verbalized them completely, his actions proved that there was something more there than deep friendship shared between them.   

Allura nodded her head to Lance.  "I think I understand, Lance."  She looked into his eyes.  "Do you really think he...he loves me?" 

Lance nodded: a grin slowing coming over his face. "Princess, things are complicated because you're a princess.  He wants to make sure everything's perfect."

She eyed the direction Keith and Amy had disappeared to.  "And Amy...  she's..."

"She was never really a serious relationship for Keith.  I had to talk him into it.  Her love for him's unhealthy.  And that's what Keith is going to address with her.  She's got to stop it for her own sake... and his too."

Allura regarded Amy for a moment.  And for that moment, she placed herself in Amy's shoes.

How would she feel if she was in Amy's position, and Keith was shunning her love for him?  And what about herself?   Would there ever come a day when Keith would eventually shun her love, and return to Earth? 

Pity started to fill her heart both for Amy and for herself.  Keith was devoted to duty.  What if he had to leave her again and return to Earth? 

She began to daydream about that... remembering the time he had to leave Arus after Lotor was defeated.

She started feeling the emotions she felt that awful day... the day Voltron was retired, and Keith was called back to Earth....




Allura tearfully watched as the Alliance ship carrying Keith, Lance, Pidge, and Hunk pulled out of sight.  She turned to Coran and Nanny, tears streaming from her eyes.

"Well, that's it."  Coran sighed.  "Our brave heroes are on their way back to Earth.  I for one will miss them." 

Nanny used her apron to wipe her eyes.  "Yes Coran.  I too admit that I will miss them!"

Allura just stood silently, turning her gaze toward the sky.  She never uttered a word. 

Later, Allura found herself wandering the hallways of the Castle, retracing some of the memories left behind. 

She entered in, and sat for a few moments in the rec room... a place where she and the boys would frequently gather.

Then, she wandered around again. 

The Castle seemed empty to her now...much like her heart.  She walked up to Keith's former quarters.  The door slid open and she looked inside. 

His quarters were clean.  He had left them in just the exact condition he had found them.  She had tears in her eyes as she approached his bed.  She gently regarded the pillow where his head had laid. 

Allura pick it up, and cradled it in her arms, tears streaming down her face.  She could still smell his scent on it.  It was too late to beg him to stay with her.  And even if it wasn't, she knew in her heart that she had no right to make such a request of him.  She squeezed the pillow close to her...

"Oh, Keith  if only I wasn't a Princess...I could be with you now."  She tearfully whispered, gently lying down on the abandoned bed.  "I miss you so much..."




As the years passed, every so often, she would visit Keith's empty room when she needed comfort.  It became the place where she could find encouragement for her problems and sanctuary from her fears.   Her father's tomb had once held that special honor.

If she listened carefully, she could hear Keith's voice of wisdom fill her mind. 

She would even go out to the garden and look up at the Black Lion monument where Black Lion too, appeared to be silently awaiting the return of its pilot. 

A wait that proved to be nearly five years long...



Allura's thoughts returned briefly to the present, and she noticed she had tears in her eyes.  Then she drifted again in thought recalling the day that Keith returned to Arus.  After Lotor had escaped imprisonment...



She walked by his quarters again.  This time, when the door slid open, his things were there again.  She closed her eyes, remembering a time when this room had been empty and sad.  Now that Keith and the others were back, the Castle seemed to brighten up again. 

A hand gently fell on her shoulder from behind, and she jumped.  Turning around, she saw Keith standing behind her. 

He quickly removed his hand.  "Sorry, Princess.  I didn't mean to startle you!"  He grinned, fumbling with an apology.

She shook her head... "Oh no, Keith, you didn't.  I was just... daydreaming."

He came around to face her.  "A penny for your thoughts..." he said quietly.

She paused for a moment, giving him an odd look.  "I don't understand what you mean." She said, regarding his sentence.  "What's a penny? And why would you offer me one for my thoughts?"

He laughed slightly.  "Sorry again, Princess.  I forgot some of our Earth phrases don't register here on Arus."  He smiled again at her.  "What I meant was, what are you thinking about?"

She smiled at him, and lowered her head in embarrassment.  "How much I missed you..." she said quietly.  "And how empty this room was without you.   How empty I was..." She didn't finish the sentence.  Tears began to form in her eyes.  "I'm glad you and the boys have returned to Arus."

He regarded her expression of sentiment, and knew it was genuine.  He placed his finger under her chin and lifted her head up, so that her gaze would meet his.  He smiled at her.

"I've missed you, too, Allura."  He replied quietly.  "I missed you the moment I left."

She looked at him, as he walked past her and into his room.  He looked around his quarters "When I returned to Earth, and found I had nothing to return to.  It was like I had been uprooted from my home when I left here."

Allura walked toward him.  "I once told you that Arus was your home for as long as you wanted it to be.  But, when I didn't hear from you for all those years, I wondered if you even remembered me."

He turned and looked at her.  "I never forgot you  My heart wouldn't let me.  I wanted to contact you.  But subspace seemed so... I don't know... impersonal."

"Yes, but at least I'd know you were still alive."  She finally scolded.  "I had no idea what happened to any of you when you left Arus.  I just assumed that all of you went on with your duties to the Alliance." 

Allura turned and walked past him, stopping at the window.  She looked out toward the bright sunshine.  "I contacted Marshall Graham once a few years ago, to ask how you were doing.  It was through him, that I found out how you were."  The sun was shining on her long blonde hair.  Keith couldn't take his eyes off of her.

She turned back to Keith. "Five years... and not a word from any of you!" 


Keith somberly walked over to the bed and sat down.  "I thought you'd be too busy running your planet to have time to talk to me, or read an e-mail.  With Zarkon and Lotor defeated, Arus could go on peacefully.  I thought Coran had a prince lined up waiting for you... like he always planned on.  It wouldn't have done either of us any good if I butted in, would it?"

She turned and sat on the bed next to him.  "As it was, it sounds like it did neither of us any good anyway." she sighed.

He nodded his head to her, refusing to meet her eyes.  He sighed as well, "I did miss you, Allura.  I swear there wasn't a day that passed that I didn't think of you."

She leaned over and placed her head on his shoulder.  His whole body began to tingle from her touch. "I did miss you, too.  I thought of you everyday too." She confessed.

He tilted his head a bit, so that it gently rested on top of her head.  "I'm never leaving here again.  I realized something in those five years.  I realized that Arus is my home not Earth.  There was nothing there for me no one to well to talk to."

He tilted his head back up and turned to look at her.  "I can talk to you, Allura.  You're the only one I've ever been able to talk to."

She smiled.  "I had no one to dance with while you were gone.  The Royal Balls that Coran put on each year were a mere formality for me.  I couldn't get into them.  I was thinking of my friends... especially you."

He stared at her, and took her hand in his.  "Same here.  The Alliance would throw military balls, but I never took anyone to them.  I danced with a couple of old admirals' wives.  But that's about it."

She covered her mouth to stifle a giggle.  "I'm sure that was great fun for you!" 

He laughed, in spite of himself.  "Yeah... loads!  Trust me!"  Then, he became more serious with her, still holding her hand.  "I'm never leaving here again.  Even if you do find a prince to marry. I can't leave your service.  I've decided that being on Arus with you is more important than my role as Commander on Earth."

She huffed at him, snagging her hand away from him suddenly.  She gave him the classic "Allura" lecture,  "Now see here, Commander!  Don't you start with that!  I'm not looking for any stupid prince to marry!  I don't care if I ever marry one!  Most of the one's I've ever met are stuck on themselves anyway!  I refuse to align myself with someone who doesn't know how to have fun!"

He grinned.  "Well, I know how to have fun...but I'm not a prince.  So, I guess..."


She hushed him immediately, placing her hand over his mouth.   "Did I say I was looking for a prince?  I said I was looking for someone who knows how to have fun!" Then she forced her hand back into his.  "Besides, I'm not ready to marry... not just yet."

He smiled contently at her.  "Well then, in that case may I have this dance?  After all, you're not tied down yet by a handsome 'someone' who doesn't knows how to have fun!"

She looked at him strangely.  "Dance?  Here?  But there's no music playing!"

He pointed to his head.  "Sure there is!  It's up here!  If you listen carefully, you'll hear it too!  Now, may I have this dance, fair Princess Allura?" He bowed to her, extending his hand.

She giggled again, and stood up from the bed.  She curtseyed to him, "Why yes, Commander Keith Hunter!  I would be delighted to dance with you!" And she placed her hand in his.

He brought her close to him, and led her in a whirl.  They quietly danced for several moments.



Allura remembered the exchange like it happened just yesterday.  She sighed, her heart full of love for the handsome young commander. 

And full of sorrow for Amy...

For some strange reason, her heart was breaking for her.



It was at that moment that Keith began laying down the law with Amy.  They were standing in her living room. 

"Look," he began as he turned around to face her direction.  "I don't mean to be rude, or seem unkind.  But at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'm going to say this once again.  You need to go on with your life!  I can't be your desire... not anymore!"

She blinked rapidly for several minutes as she listened to him.  Then she finally spoke up...
"I once asked you if it would be alright if I continued to love you.  You said it would be okay.  Now, you're blaming me for something you allowed me to continue!"

Keith shook his head.  "I know what I said!  And I was wrong for saying it!  And you were wrong for carrying the flame all these years!" 

He quickly walked up to her and took her hands in his.  "Look, I don't like being the bad guy here.  All I'm asking you to do is go on with your life!  You have to, Amy for your sake and mine!"

She stared at him, shaking her head.  "I love you!  Doesn't that mean anything to you?  What does Allura have that I don't?  What is it that you love more about her than you do about me?  Is it something I can change?  Is it my hair?   Tell me and I'll change it!"

Keith grunted out loud.  "No its nothing like that!  It's just... you and I are just not meant for each other.  That's all.  It's not that she's better than you are, or you're better than she is.  I can't really explain it. Other than I love her!"

Amy stood staring at him.  "Are you telling me that I don't matter to you?"

"No, of course not!  I'm telling you that you'll always have a friend in me.  But I can't be something to you that I'm not, Amy!  I don't love you like that.  I love you as my friend."

She stood silently.  Keith squeezed her hands gently and repeated what he said.  "You'll always have a friend in me.  And no truer friend will you ever have!" 

"But, nothing more...is that it?"  She whispered, tears beginning to come down her face.

He sighed heavily.  "I'm afraid not, Amy.  For your own good, let me go please."

Keith let go of her hands, and turned to leave.  He reached for the door and opened it.  "We'll be staying tonight, then we'll be on our way in the morning.  If you are still interested in returning to Earth, I'll make sure we return to pick you up after we meet with Queen Serena.   Just let me know before we leave at dawn."

She nodded her head and sat down in a nearby rocking chair.   "I'll let you know my discussion in the morning."  She replied softly.

Keith nodded.  He felt sorry for her.  It must be hard for her to feel like this.  He realized how he would feel if he were in her place.  But, he had to be firm with her.  She had to know the truth... and she had to deal with it. 

"I'll see you at supper." She said to him as he was leaving. 

He paused for a moment, then replied.  "I'll be there."

She nodded and watched him close the door and leave her alone...again.  Her heart was filled with sorrow.  Somewhere in the back of her head, she always knew he would find someone else if he had joined the Garrison Defense Force.  And sure enough, he did.

Amy closed her eyes and began to slowly rock in the chair.  She couldn't help replaying her past with him in her head.  What was it she had done wrong that Allura seemed to do right?  It didn't matter what he said.   Somehow Allura was better to him than she was.  The more she thought, the more she grieved. 

And then...out of nowhere...a brilliant white light filled her room... 

She opened her eyes and jumped up quickly, frightened by the bright light that seemed to come out of nowhere.  She tried to go around it, but it seemed to be cut off.  Wherever she went to move, the light moved with her. 

Amy stopped, now paralyzed with fear.  The light started to grow dimmer, until only the figure of an old woman in a brown cloak remained.  She gasped at the woman's appearance.  She looked so very old, and so very hideous.  The woman seemed to hover above the ground, and she carried a walking stick with what appeared to have a globe on top of it.

The old woman started to move closer to Amy.  And Amy began to step back away from her. 

The old woman paused, then finally addressed her.  "Don't be afraid, dear!"  She said.  "I'm here to grant you a very special wish, and to ask for one in return!"

The old hag confused Amy.  "What special wish are you referring to?"  She asked cautiously.

The old woman answered.  "Love's true wish!  You wish the dashing young Commander of the Voltron Force to fall in love with you... am I right?"

Amy grimaced,  "Wait a minute!  Who are you and how do you know who I am, and what my dreams are?"

The old woman smiled.  "My dear, I know everything there is to know.  Call me... your fairy godmother, if you'd like."

"Do you have a name?"  Amy asked, still standing a distance away from the old woman.

"Yes, if you must know, my name is Hagar.  And I say again, I am here to make your dreams of love come true!" 

Amy became curious.  "And tell me Hagar.  Just how would you go about doing this?"

Hagar waved around the wand she was carrying.  "With my special powers, I can cause Commander Keith Hunter to fall hopelessly in love with you!  He will see no one else but you.  That is what you've always dreamed of ...isn't it, my dear?"

"Well, yes.  But he..."

Hagar cut her off.  "Well then, all you need to do is say the word, and it shall be done for you!"  Hagar turned to hover toward the direction of the bedroom.  "Of course, there is a price for love."

"A price for love?  What sort of price?"  She frowned suddenly.

"The young woman who travels with the group of strangers... once Commander Keith has fallen for you, then he will have no need for her.  She would only get in his way.  I can... well...
I can remove her as an obstacle for you!"

"What are you saying?  Are you threatening to kill Princess Allura?"  She shouted.  "Her death would crush Keith!"

"Not if he is in love with you!  And besides, I don't want to kill her... I want to simply take her away from this place.  You see, there is someone else who I know, who's true love dreams include the Princess.  But, much like Commander Keith, she has shunned him... as he has shunned you.  That all could change for everyone!"

Amy thought about it for a moment.  "When would I notice this change?"

Hagar pressed her lips together.  "I can arrange it at his next glance at you.  Once he gazes upon you, he will forever be in your sway."

"And the Princess?"  Amy asked.

Hagar nodded.  "I shall come tonight and take her when everyone is asleep."

"Why at night?"  She questioned.  "Why not just take her now?"

Hagar hovered toward her.  "My dear, because Allura's other friends must not stop true love from reaching her and they would if they stopped me from taking her away to her true love."

Amy thought about the proposition that was before her.  "I don't know..." she said hesitantly.

Hagar leaned into her, startling her for a moment.  "My dear, my offers require an immediate response!  Think quickly... this may be the only chance you have to win your true love!  Once
I leave here, I shall never return again with this offer.  And your dreams for true love will all be but a memory, and he will leave you again at dawn!"

"NO!" she shouted.  "He can't go!  Do what you say you can do!  Please... don't let him leave again!"  

Hagar smiled she had succeeded in deceiving the foolish young woman.  But her purpose for being here today, was to get Keith out of the way, so that she could snatch the Princess and bring her to Lotor.   If Keith were also deceived into believing he actually loved this woman, he would abandon all protection and concern for the Princess.  The door would be open for Lotor to have her.

"Very well..." And then, Hagar waved her globe and pointed it at Amy.  A green-looking mist shot out of the globe, surrounding Amy.  She started feeling tingles all over her body.  It was an odd sort of feeling to her skin.  Then, it stopped as quickly as it began.  "It is done!" The old woman said.  "Upon his next glance your way, he will be forever yours!"

"And the Princess?" Amy asked.

"She will know sorrow for a time, then she too, will know happiness, as I bring her to her true love.  All will be well!"  Hagar reassured.  "Go now... search out your true love!"

And then, the brilliant white light returned, surrounding Hagar.  As it disappeared, so did the old woman. 

Stunned by what transpired, Amy decided to try out her newfound hope quickly.  She ran to the door and threw it open.  The she began to run through the village, looking for Keith, like a maiden running after her prince. 

She turned the corner, and found him... he was standing with Lance and Pidge.  She paused, afraid of what was about to take place or what might not take place. 

She took a deep breath, and called out his name....  "Keith!  Keith!" 

Lance looked over toward her.  Keith didn't turn around.  He only rolled his eyes upward.

"She doesn't give up, does she?"  Lance laughed.  "Do you want me to try this time?"

Keith exhaled.  "No, I'll take care of it."

"I'll feel better when we get out of here.  Then we won't have to worry about her at all!" Pidge added.

"Okay I'll be right back, you guys.  This won't take but a moment" Keith said as he turned to walk over to her.  There was a trace of anger in his voice as he shot a parting comment at Lance and Pidge.  "I'm getting tired of playing this game with her."

Lance and Pidge continued their data research, as Keith walked over toward her.  His head was down, and he hadn't looked directly at her yet.  Amy stood quietly, waiting to see if there was any change in his attitude. 

Nearly to her, Keith looked up to meet her eyes. "Amy, you have to... stop....stop this..."

Then he became quite dizzy all of a sudden. 

"Uh ...I...  whoa!"  He almost fell to the ground. 

She reached out and steadied him with her arms.  When he brought his gaze back up to Amy, something different had changed in her...something unexplainable.  She looked so... beautiful... more beautiful then he could ever imagine. 

He could feel something in his head had changed, like a light switch going on.  But his heart was calling to him that this wasn't right.  The name written in his heart began to cry out from within him...

Allura

She smiled winsomely at him.  He just stared at her quietly.  Then, finally he spoke to her gently.  "Amy?"

"Yes, Keith?" she sweetly asked.

He shook his head oddly.  Then he looked at her again. His heart's cry was fading fast...

Allura...

He impulsively pushed the name in his heart aside.  His mind literally made him look at Amy again. 

He smiled tenderly... "You're.... you're so.... beautiful!" he finally said.  He turned back to look at Lance and Pidge, still feeling woozy.  Then he turned to her again.  "Come with me!" he smiled, as he grabbed her hand and they ran off together.



Lance watched them leave.  "Well, there he goes heading off for another one of his stern talks."

"Hope this one gets through."  Pidge said, not looking at Lance directly.  "I'm getting tired of this too."

"We all are."  Lance replied.   Lance was curious, however.  Why did Keith grab her hand and run off with her toward the forest?  He dismissed the thought as quickly as it came.




Hunk was sitting alone in the forest, contemplating his next meal, and just simply relaxing.  His eyes were closed and things were quiet.  The only noise he heard was that of the birds native to this planet.  He enjoyed the quiet.

As he sat, resting his eyes, he suddenly started to hear giggling approaching him.  He opened his eyes and sat up. 

"Oh great..." Hunk thought.  "I find an ideal spot to relax, and some love sick idiots have to come and spoil it for me!"

He stood up and began walking toward the noise.   As he approached, he quickly jumped down toward the ground to hide in some nearby brush... shocked by what he saw.

It was Keith... and he had Amy on the ground in an embrace!  Their faces were locked together in a passionate kiss! 

"What's going on here?" Hunk thought.

He quickly went over to break it up.  "Okay, Amy!  What are you trying to prove here?  Let him up!"

Keith looked up at Hunk, angry at the intrusion.  "Hunk, what do you think you're doing here?   I don't remember inviting you to this party... so turn around and get lost!"

Hunk stood there, shocked at what Keith had said to him.  "Keith... are are you okay buddy?"


Amy was running her hands through Keith's thick black hair.  Keith broke his concentration
of her for a moment to shouted back at Hunk...

"Yes Mommy!  I'm fine!  And as you can see, I'm busy too!  So why don't you take yourself back to the village where you belong!"

"You don't sound like yourself, Keith!  Maybe I should take you with me..." Hunk replied, starting to carefully approach him.

Keith stood up, fists clenched.  "Hunk, I'm warning you!  I don't need your help!  I'm perfectly fine!  Just turn around and leave me alone!"

"But Keith... what about Allura?  What's she gonna say about this?"  Hunk tried to include her name, in hopes that Keith would return to reality.

'What about her?"  Keith shrugged his shoulders.  "I don't care what happens to her.  And you can tell her that, for all I care!"

Hunk shook his head, angry with Keith suddenly.  "Now wait a minute here!  What do you mean by saying you don't care what happens to her?  Of course you do!  You're out of your mind!  I know that for sure now!"  Hunk looked sternly at Amy, who was sitting on the ground next to where Keith was standing.

"And she's to blame for it I'm sure!" he pointed toward her.  "Now, Commander! You're coming with me...like it or not!"

"Come near me, Hunk, and so help me I kill you!" 

Keith grabbed his blaster from the side of his belt, and pointed it at Hunk.  "Now, I'm telling you for the last time, Hunk.  Leave me alone...now!"

Hunk stared at Keith... angry by this very unusual behavior.  He was sure Amy had something to do with it!   But he wisely decided that he would fair better against Keith with additional numbers on his side.   Lance and Pidge had to know about this... and quickly.

Hunk put his arms up in front of him, talking Keith down.   "Okay, Keith!  If you insist, I'll go now.  Just point that thing somewhere else!"

"Get going, Hunk!"  Keith shouted.  "I'm going to count to three...  One... Two..."

Hunk turned immediately, and jogged quickly through the brush of the forest, tripping on some of it as he hurried away.

When Hunk was out of sight, Keith returned his blaster back to his side, and sat back to the ground with Amy.  He reached over and gently touched her cheek. "Now, where were we?" He said quietly, a smile once again returning to his face. 

"I think we were here!" she said, and she leaned into him for another kiss.   He wrapped his arms around her and they tumbled to the ground once again.


Something in his heart still was crying out...but it remained very faint...so faint that he hardly heard it any longer.

Allura... Allura...  Allura....




 
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