"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.


Chapter 19
Sorry Doesn't Seem Enough

Keith sat alone by the campfire, lamenting.  The guys had long since gone for a nap, but sleep just couldn't seem to find Keith, no matter how hard he tried to find it.

And he did try.

He tried lying in his cot, listening to Lance snore away.  But his mind was too full of the last few days of activities.

"How can she ever trust me again?" he thought as he sat silently by the fire alone. "I've let everyone down.  Why did I let my mind trick me like that?  How could I have done that to her? She's got to hate me by now!"

He stared intensely at the fire, blotting out everything around him.  He didn't hear her step up.

"Keith...are you alright?"

He shifted himself quickly around, startled by Allura's voice.  He looked at her, and he suddenly thought how beautiful she looked in the light of the fire.

Allura was wrapped in a heavy blanket, trailing it behind her like a royal robe. Her golden hair was down, spilling gently around her shoulders.  Even dirty, she managed to get all the tangles out of her long hair and somehow make it look stunning.

He stood up quickly, realizing suddenly that he was staring at her.  "Princess!  What are you doing up at this hour?  You should be resting!" He quickly approached her and put his arm around her. "Come on, I'll take you back to your tent."

She tensed up.  "No, Keith.  I want to stay out here.  Besides, it's warmer by the fire."

He looked into her eyes. "Just the same, I'd rather you go back into the tent."

"Why?  So you can be out here all by yourself and pout some more?" she smirked, looking straight into his dark eyes.  "I can't let you do that alone."

He took his hand off her shoulder, and backed up a few steps.  "Princess...I...um..."

She silenced him by placing her finger to his lips, as she took her place by the fire.  Settling down on the soft, grassy ground, she re-wrapped the blank once again around herself.  She was silent for a moment, only looking at the fire.

Keith stood above her, ready to hear the Princess's wrath.  He could just hear it now...

Instead, she took a deep breath and held it for a moment.  As she began to exhale, she looked up at him.  He could see tears were in her eyes.

"I wasn't sure if I'd ever see you again, Keith." she said, her voice suddenly cracking.

"Princess..." he said, regretfully, as he knelt down to her.  "I wasn't... myself."

"I know you weren't.  It was so scary seeing you that way." She replied softly.

Keith sat down next to her, bringing his knees up and wrapping his arms around them. "Princess, I know you're mad at me, and you have every right to be.  I acted in the most irresponsible, dishonorable way."

Allura remained silent as she listened to him continue to talk.

"Princess, I have no right to pilot Black Lion after what I did to you and the guys.  I can't expect you to forgive me, or even trust me again."

He reached over into his pocket and pulled out the Black Lion key.  Allura's eyes suddenly widened as she watched him bring it up to his face. 

He huffed aloud.  "I don't deserve to be Commander of Voltron anymore!" He said.  Then he held out Black Lion's key to her. "Here...take it!"

"No!" she pushed it back toward him. "I won't take it!  Not this time!"

"You have to, Princess!  I broke my vow to you!  I promised I would always keep you safe from harm.  I failed to keep that promise, and instead, became the very thing, I was trying to protect you from!" 

He put his head down, staring at the ground. "I'm ashamed of the way I treated you... the way I spoke to you.  I can't be Commander now, can't you see that?"

She shook her head and continued to push it away. "You are Voltron's Commander!  And you didn't break your promise! You were under some sort of spell. Can't you see that, Keith?"

"But... I knew what I was doing!  I knew I was hurting you!  And I didn't seem to care!  But now" he trailed off in mid sentence.

"But now..." She began where he left off.  "Now, you're back to normal.  You're the old Keith we all know and love so much: stern, strict, everything by the book...  but most of all... compassionate.  You can't give up your commission!  Remember I told you that before!  I'm
not about to let you give up your position as Black Lion's pilot and Commander of Voltron!  We need you!  Arus needs you...and... I need you, too!"

Keith's lips puckered as he listened to her. "Princess... I..."

"Allura remember me?  I'm your friend, remember?  Why won't you talk to me like you use to when you were troubled?" She grabbed onto his arm.

"Because, I have not right to be called your friend... not after what I did to you!"  He refused to look at her.  "I guess I don't believe in myself any longer, Allura."

"Well, I believed in you, Keith!  I believed that you would do the right thing and find the truth in your heart.  And you did!  I couldn't be happier!  You're here with us now!  Everything's forgotten... as if it never happened..."

"Allura, I... I wish I could undo all the hurt I caused you and the guys." He said. "I never loved her.  You know that, don't you?"

"I know that.  I was angry with her.  She did this to you!" Allura said angrily. "Maybe she and Lotor should get together."

Keith turned his body to her abruptly. "But that's just it!  She didn't do it...Hagar did!"

"Hagar?" Allura shot him a quick glance.

"Hagar manipulated Amy.  Amy didn't cast the spell!  Hagar was trying to get rid of me so that she could get at you easier." Keith said. "And then, she used my mind to make me believe that Amy and I were more than what we really were.  Amy played right into it.  And so
did I ...apparently." He slammed his fist to the ground.  "What was I thinking?"

Allura looked at the fire, her eyes starting to feel droopy.  "But how were you able to break the spell and find us?" She said as she let out a yawn.

"Well, after I saw you by the river back at the village, I saw Lance, Hunk and Pidge.  The last thing Lance told me before I left was to remember our original plan.  I helped make that plan while we were still on Arus, so I knew where Voltron was headed." Keith said,  picking up stray trigs and throwing them into the fire.

"And the truth?  How did you find that?" she questioned him further.

"Exactly what you told me to do, Princess.  Look deep into my heart." Keith reached his hand down and cradled hers in it.  "My heart remembered.  I just had to follow it."

Allura looked down as he held her hand.  She curled her hand up into his, snuggling it closely in his palm.  She looked up at him, a glimmer of light from the fire reflected in her blue eyes. She smiled at him. "And then, you remembered?"

"Everything!  It was like a floodgate opened up, and all of my true feelings came crashing in on me. " Keith squeezed her hand gently. "It was then that I realized how awful I was to you and the guys. "

Allura nodded. "I believed that I could talk you out of it... that is until you pushed me to ground..."

Keith sighed heavily.  "That's why I don't understand why you're not hopping mad at me.  I treated you like some insignificant little pest.  I would have rather killed myself than see you hurt like that!  If it had been anyone else doing that to you, I'd immediately lashed out at them!"

"Oh Keith..." Allura said, now resting her head on his shoulder. "None of that matters now. You're back with us, and that's all that matters, really." She let out another yawn.

The air suddenly was filled with silence.

Then, Keith sighed. "Did... did I hurt you when I pushed you to the ground, the way I did?"

She glanced his way. "Only my pride... and my heart."

"For that, I should assign myself some sort of befitting punishment!" he said, a hint of humor in his voice.

"Well, at the very least, reprimand yourself real good!" she joked a bit back. "After all, how can you be my champion if you're confined to Castle dungeon back on Arus?"

Keith turned his body around to face her, cradling her head with his arm.  She was still looking at him when he took her hand in his.  He gently brought it up to his lips and pressed a light kiss on it.  She began to feel a blush come over her face.

After he had kissed her hand, he looked at her softly. "I enjoy being your champion, Allura. It's an honor to serve you."

She smiled gracefully. "I enjoy having you worry about me.  Funny... when you first came to Arus, I detested your constant fussing over me, and the continuous way you followed me around the Castle grounds... like you were my guard-dog."

"I had to!  Your life was in danger, what with Zarkon's constant attacks on Arus, and especially after what Hagar had done to Sven!  It was my job to see to it that you were safe. Even when I knew you hated me tailing you all of the time."

She smiled again. "I know that now.  I also know that it was more than just 'your job', as you put it.  I actually got the feeling that you liked watching over me."

"I did...and still do." He smiled back to her. "I hope I still don't make you feel uncomfortable for keeping an eye out for you."

"It makes me feel important." She quietly replied, her eyes beginning to droop.

"You are important, Allura.  You're important... not just to Arus.  But to me, too." He said quietly, leaning forward to her face. "Thank you for forgiving me.  I promise I won't let you down again." He then placed a light kiss on her forehead.

She closed her eyes and savored the moment.  As he pulled his head away, she opened her eyes and looked at him, as he looked deeply into her beautiful blue eyes. 

He found himself getting lost in their richness. 

She suddenly felt that he might kiss her....but instead, he smiled at her.

"Okay.  Now its time you went back to bed, Your Highness.  And no arguments!  That's an order!" He let out a wink.

She put her hand to her mouth, giggling in spite of herself. "Alright, Commander!"

Keith stood up and reached down for her hands.  She placed them in his and allowed him to pull her to her feet.  She looked into his dark, mysterious eyes. 

He smiled. "Remember your wish to bunk with Lance and me?"

"Yes...what about it?" She asked, curious why he thought to bring that up now.

"I'm not taking any chances this time!  I'm moving your cot into our tent.  And don't worry...
Lance is decent, you just have to put up with his snoring...that's all!" he joked.

She suddenly laughed out loud. "I appreciate your offer, but I somehow don't think it would be appropriate!"

"I don't care!  Appropriate or not, you're sleeping in our tent...and that's the end of it! Remember... I'm not letting you out of sight again for the rest of this trip!" he reminded her.

She continued to smile. "Well, who am I to argue with my champion?"

"Besides, Princess, you won't win!  I'm your commanding officer!  Now, lets show some respect here!" he joked again.

Allura dropped her blanket to the ground and stood at attention, putting on a snappy salute. "Yes sir, Commander Hunter, sir!  Whatever you say, sir!"  She then flashed him a quick wink.

"Now...that's more like it!" he cracked a smile. He bent over and picked up the blanket that had fallen lazily to the ground around her feet.

He reached around and put it back on her body. "Your wrap, my Lady." He smiled dashingly.

Keith extended his elbow to her, and she quickly latched on.  As they walked to her tent to fetch her cot, Keith looked at his watch, then took note of the sky. 

The time was nearly 3am.

Not much night left to sleep off.  When they reached her tent, Keith stopped her and grabbed onto her shoulders.

"Allura, I want you to stay with Voltron when we leave for the palace." He said.

She looked at him, puzzled by his sudden request. "But, Keith!  I feel fine!  Really... I do!"

Keith shook his head.  "No, that's not why I'm asking you to stay."

"Then why?" she asked.

He reached his hand up and starting nervously rubbing the back of his neck. "Because, Lotor is at the palace.  I don't want him to even think he can so much as lay a hand on you again!"

"Keith... really!  I can take care of myself!" she protested.

"Princess!  Don't you realize what life would be like for you if you fell into Lotor's hands?  I know what life would be like for me!"

"For you?" she asked winsomely. "What do you mean 'for you'?"

"Look, I think we both know how I feel about you.  I'm well... I've become quite fond of you, okay?"  He suddenly realized he had cornered himself. "Let's just say that I can't stand the thought of Lotor getting his grimy clutches on you, that's all!"

'Oh, I see." She replied. "Well, if you must know, I've become quite 'fond' of you too."

Keith's eyes opened wide. "You have?"

Then, he realized that he just made himself sound like a lovesick schoolboy.

"Uh...what I mean is...that's great!" He decided to change the subject before he got in any deeper above his head.

Allura squeezed his arm as her head cuddled up next to his shoulder. "I understand what you mean." She looked up at him, meeting his gaze. She threw him butterfly kisses with her
eyes. "I'm just glad you're back with the team."

He turned to her and impulsively embraced her. "Yeah, me too." He said, enjoying the brief moment they shared. 

Keith began beating down the impulse to kiss her, knowing that it wasn't proper timing.  She was tired, and so was he.  Now was not the time to confess love...

He broke off the embrace. "Wait here, Allura!" he said, as he went into her tent.  The next thing she knew, he was coming out with her cot all folded up under his arm.

"Now, let's get you settled down for awhile." He said, reaching for her arm.

The two of them walked quietly across to his tent.  The sound of their giggles could be heard as they disappeared into the night.

But trouble was brewing at the palace of Queen Serena Octavia...

...he sort of trouble that would soon prove to be one of the most difficult decisions of the young Voltron Commander's life.

For Lotor was preparing a choice for him. Who would he chose to save?

Amy or Allura?