"Forever..."

A story based on. "Voltron, The Third Dimension"
Copyright 2004
By Adele Previte

"Voltron" and its characters are a trademark and copyright of World Event Productions
All other characters are copyrighted by me and can be used with my permission.

Thanks! 

Enjoy! 


Chapter 3
Courtship Anxiety


"A ride in the woods...now that's where I'd take her...if you ask me, Keith!"



The words of echoing advice sailed through the young Voltron Commander's mind.  He had asked his best friend, Lance Andrews, what he would do, if he were dating the Princess. Lance was not short on words, and offered the suggestion to take her out for a ride in the woods, perhaps with a picnic lunch...just for two.

That advice was now milling around in Keith's mind with reckless abandon...and lately, even more like, frightful reality.

Now, he suddenly realized that this wasn't going to be as easy as he had anticipated it being.

Courting the Princess of Arus...

Not a regular girl

A Princess

Was he crazy?   He was d-a-t-i-n-g ....a Princess! 

The task loomed large over his head, suddenly. 

Things were so much easier to deal with, when she was merely his close female friend and dearest confidante.  They used talk for many hours...about good many things.

Now, it had been days since their return from Planet Surbain...and many weeks more since he had confessed his love for her... and likewise...her for him.

Keith suddenly found himself lacking in any words to say to her at all.  He even found himself involuntarily...hiding...from her, as much as he could possibly get away with.

After Lion practices, he'd retreat to his room, or make up some no- account excuse as to why he couldn't find the time to just stop and talk with her.

And the tension was beginning to mount between them.

He didn't want it to appear as if he were ignoring Allura...and yet, he suddenly found that he had nothing to really say to her...other than to give her orders as his Blue Lion pilot.

Where do you take her?
What do you do with her?
What's proper verses improper?

*******************


Keith sat quietly at the evening dinner table...seemingly lost in thought, as his mind raced back and forth, pondering these aforementioned things.

To his right, sat the winsome and rather disheartened Princess Allura...baffled beyond reasoning. She too, seemed to be lost in thoughts of her own.

She could sense that Keith was ignoring her. And for whatever the reason, he had decided to suddenly switch his Castle Control shifts to overnight watches...changing from his normal, 'five-thirty-in-the- morning' shifts that she had grown so accustom to seeing him perform.

Keith had cited the move as 'temporary', saying he had been experiencing difficulty with sleeping at night and that the change might encourage him to get a better, more restful sleep, if he had done it during the day, when most everyone else was awake.

Coran accepted the change without question...although Allura was sure that he too, suspected that it was a mild attempt on Keith's part to avoid situations that required him to speak to her privately.

Allura glanced at Keith out of the corner of her blue eyes...

And he was doing absolutely...nothing!

And that was the problem!

If he was having second thoughts about becoming a royal suitor...why wasn't he now vocalizing them?  Was he afraid to hurt her feelings?

Certainly, his silence was more devastating then any spoken words of second thoughts.

How could he confess his love for her, follow her to Surbain, risk his life for her...fight for her...and endure the most excruciating forms of torture at Lotor's command...if to only abandon her now, once they had returned to Arus?

"Absolutely ridiculous, Allura!" she reprimanded herself, as she tried to push the thoughts of abandonment aside.

Yet, she couldn't help but feel as if Keith were deliberately ignoring her.

Everyone at the table could feel the tension and even the dinnertime antics had come to a near standstill as of late. Everyone ate in bitter silence.  Not even Lance made his usual wisecracking remarks to his ever, 'rule conscious' Commander and friend.

He knew Keith was in no mood to hear them.

Allura had finally had enough.

She suddenly, and without warning, dropped her fork onto her plate, with a deliberate bang that intended to draw the attention of everyone seated at the table.

She had succeeded with her intentions.

Everyone suddenly glanced her way...including the Voltron Commander, who was suddenly forced to focus his attention on something more than his own drifting feelings of anxiety.

Allura rose to her feet and without so much as a word, she walked over toward the kitchen and pushed open the door, disappearing behind it.

No one said a word...the room and the atmosphere were like a raw nerve that had been touched.

Moments later, Allura stepped out of the kitchen, and proceeded to walk over toward the door to exit the dining hall.

Coran immediately rose to his feet...quickly dabbing his lips with his napkin and then, letting it drop to the table.

"Princess?" the stately advisor began.  "Where are you going?"

"I'm taking dinner in my room this evening, Coran." Allura said, rather calmly.

"Your Highness," Coran began.  "Why would you take dinner in your room? Are you feeling ill?"

Allura looked toward Keith...and as their eyes met for a moment.

Then, Keith suddenly turned his gaze to the floor.

Allura wrinkled her nose slightly as she again, refocused her attention to answer Coran's question.

"Yes...as a matter of fact, I am feeling ill, Coran.  And I just don't think I can be here any longer."

Coran's eyes suddenly glanced over toward where Keith stood...just opposite of his place at the table. Keith was gazing at the floor... and seemingly not interested in objecting to the Princess's sudden decision to leave the room.

Coran sighed slightly, "I understand, Princess.
If there is anything I can do for you..."

"No, Coran." Allura replied in a quiet voice.
"I'll be fine...as time passes.  It's just that...
things that I have recently...consumed...
figuratively speaking, of course...are not,
'digesting' as I thought they had appeared
to be. They are now beginning to, 'sour my stomach',
as it were!"

"I see," Coran replied slowly, glancing once again in Keith's direction. "Very well, Your Highness..."

Allura said and did nothing more, except to turn and leave the room.

Everyone paused for a very long...and uncomfortable moment. It was Lance who finally began the conversation...

"Keith...you can't just..."

Before Lance could finish his thought, Keith suddenly tossed his napkin onto his chair, and ran from the room...saying absolutely nothing to any of them.

Lance began to run after him, but was suddenly blocked by Coran. The advisor had suddenly stepped into the Red Lion pilot's path.

"Let him be, Lance." Coran
uttered calmly.

"But...he's not thinking right!"
Lance defended. "Everyone
knows he's been ignoring the
Princess!  And someone's got
to straighten that guy out!  And
it might as well be his best friend!"

"He must decide for himself, Lance,"
Coran said. "He must have time to sort things out within his soul.  Your interfering
will not do that for him."

Lance paused for a moment...looking as if he might dart around Coran's extended arms. But...instead, he chose to bow his head...giving in to Coran's reasoning.

"I know he loves her, Coran," Lance said quietly.  "He's just...I don't know...scared or something, I guess."

"It is a very large decision." Coran replied, wisely.  "Courtship is a serious matter, and even far more serious in royal matters.  He needs to find his own way...and no one, not even Allura, will help him do that."

Lance stared at Coran...and then, slowly nodded.

Coran continued. "It was never a matter of his love for her.  I have known of it for many years now.  It is a matter of his own inability to deal with the issue of love...and what that will mean for him.  To trust his feelings and to willingly surrender a part of his life that he has taken great care to cover over for many years...will need more than a few days of time to come to grips with."

"It's his parents..." Lance said quietly.  "Isn't' it?"

Coran nodded his head slowly.  "It was a great and tragic loss for Keith. Give him time, Lance. He will find his way...but only if we allow him to.  This is a matter for him to work out on his own...and then, to work out with the Princess."

Lance nodded quietlyand then turned to go back to his seat at the table.

Hunk rose to his feet , "What are we going to do?"

Lance looked at Hunk "Nothing, Hunk.  Keith's got to handle this one...on his own, Big Guy."

**********************

Allura had made it half way to her private chambers, when she began to hear a set of fast moving footsteps, heading in her direct. She would have paused...and even turned to see who was coming.

But she knew who it was that was approaching her from behind. And if it was, 'him', she cared not to wait for him.

And then, the echoing voice in the corridor confirmed her instincts...


"ALLURA...WAIT!"


Allura kept walking...never missing a beat, as her heels clicked against the marbled floor of the corridor.

Suddenly, a strong hand grabbed onto her arm from behind, restraining her. She heard his voice.

"Allura, we need to talk about..." Keith started to say.

She quickly turned on him like a wild animal, cutting him off in mid- sentence...

"WHAT?" she screamed at Keith. "WHAT do you want of me?  What do you want to talk about, Keith? Goodness knows, you haven't said two words to me in quite a number of days. You're on a roll...why break the chain now?"

Keith was taken back for a moment...then, he took a deep, cleansing breath and briefly closed his eyes...and then, reopened them quickly.

"Allura...I...I don't quite know how to say this to you," he began.

"If you've changed your mind about being a royal suitor, I'm glad you've finally decided to say it! Now...perhaps we can go back to just being...plain ordinary friends...or whatever it is that makes you feel comfortable!"

Her voice suddenly trailed off into a tearful reply...

"Changed my mind? No, Allura!  I haven't changed my mind! I haven't changed it at all! There's nothing more in the universe that I desire, then to be with you...but..."

Allura snorted in frustration  "Well, you sure had me fooled!" she blurted out at him. "Goodness...all of this time, and I thought that you were ignoring me!  How silly I am!  How foolish!  So Keith, tell me then...just how was I supposed to gather that handy piece of
revelation from your behavior as of recent?

"I'm not making any excuses, Allura," Keith replied simply.  "But do you have any idea what I've been going through?  I'm torn inside, Princess!"

"Oh, so its, 'Princess' now, is it?" she snidely replied. "Resorting to addressing me in a formal manner, are we, Commander?"

"Oh, come on, Allura!" Keith grunted in frustration.  "You're not being rational about this!"

"Aren't I?" she blew back at him.  "And just tell me...what would you have thought, had it been me ignoring you, in much the same fashion that you have been ignoring me?"

"I know...and you're right, Allura!" Keith replied.  "My silence and distance have been inexcusable. But, I just wanted you to know why it appeared like I was ignoring you!"

"Oh, please, Keith!" Allura growled.  "Spare me your, 'I can't deal with reality' stories! You're just being selfish and childish"

Keith suddenly became angry... feeling that the words she was throwing at him were a borderline direct attack on him.  His attempt at trying to smooth this over suddenly turned into an all-out shouting match...and he didn't like it.  There was only one way to get her to see his point of view...

"Look! You can read my mind...
see into my heart! Why not just
lower your claws, Lioness, and
see for yourself what I've been
agonizing over!" Keith shouted.
"Or are you afraid of finding out
that just quite possibly, you're the
one being selfish here!"

"I am NOT selfish, Keith!"
Allura shouted.

"Then...listen to my heart!" Keith shouted back. "Don't try to justify yourself to me! Justify your self...to your self! Go on, I said...listen to my heart!"

Allura stared at him for a moment...suddenly frozen with anxiety.

Keith leaned in toward her, grabbing her hand and suddenly thrusting it up to his chest "I said, do it, Allura! Search my heart with your mindif you dare, that is!"

"Keith...no! What are you doing? I...can't..."

"DO IT, NOW, ALLURA!" Keith shouted at her.

She suddenly closed her eyes as a small gasp escaped her mouth. Her hand was covering his chest, and she began to do as he asked of her... she began to probe his mind and heart with her thoughts.

Keith watched her face as it began to twist and contort at times...and even wince, as if in some sort of pain.

Moments later, she looked up at him...

Her face was blank and pale.  Her stare seemed to go right through his very soul...

Suddenly, tears began to appear in her eyes and she suddenly thrust herself into his arms, sobbing now, uncontrollably.

"Oh, Keith...I'm so sorry!" she wept bitterly.  "I've been such a fool!  I never once stopped to think about you...and how you must be feeling in all of this! I was only concerned with my bruised ego and wounded feelings! I had completely forgotten about how you feel!  Your barriers...your emotions and struggles!  Oh, I'm so sorry...I...I..."

Keith lifted his hand up to her head, and began running his hand down the length of hair in a soothing motion.

"I'm sorry I hollered at you," was his reply. "I shouldn't have done that.  I just didn't know how else to get through to you."

"I know...but you had to...I wouldn't have understood...if I hadn't..."

"Shhh-h-h...it's all right now, Allura." Keith replied gently.  "I know you didn't mean it.  And I guess I shouldn't have let this much time pass between us, before telling you what I was feeling. I was so self-consumed . I never gave it much thought how you would perceive all of this.  I just figured that you'd understand."

"I do now," she replied with sobs.  "I do...really, I do!"

Keith smiled. "I know you do." he said, as he continued to hold her.  Then, he pulled her away from him, and looked her in the face.

"I've been thinking...and I guess now's as good a time as any, to ask.  How about going for a ride in the woods with me, tomorrow?  We can get a picnic lunch...just for us two...and head out early!  Maybe even get in some sightseeing at one of the nearby towns or villages.  What do you say? We can talk...like we used to...and just enjoy each other's company...with no pressure."

Allura looked at him for a moment. "Well, that's...that's quite a plan, Keith." she replied softly. "What time would we leave?"

"I was thinking...like...oh, around ten in the morning? Is that okay with you, Allura?" Keith asked her, now just holding her hands in his, as they stood apart.

Allura smiled through her tears... "I think that sounds...just fine, Keith!"

"Good." Keith replied softly, as he released her right hand, and brought his left hand up to her face, using his thumbs to wipe the tears from her cheeks.  "Now, I don't know about you...but I'm hungry! What do you say that we go and raid the kitchen?"

"That sounds like a great idea, Keith!" Allura replied, her spirits suddenly seemed to lift.

"Okay!" he replied back, now suddenly pulling on her hand.  "Come with me!"

Allura nodded and followed Keith back down the corridor to the dining room.

And the wall of silence had just crashed to the ground.
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