"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! 


Chapter 20
A Heart That Understands


Several hours had gone by since the attack on Kardel.

Keith had been thoroughly checked out by Dr. Gorma, while the rest of his staff attended to the needs of the survivors from the school disaster.

Allura had informed Keith that Jennica was staying in the Castle's children's ward with several other children who had been taken there and were awaiting the arrival of their families to come and pick them up and take them home...if there was a home to go to.

Many areas of the city of Kardel had suffered heavy damage in the attack. Many homes and businesses had sustained heavy damage...or were totally destroyed.

Keith stood at the doorway to the ward...watching the children as they played merrily.  One small child, however, sat off in the corner of the room...sad and unresponsive.

The Voltron Commander inquired of her condition...

"She's a delightful child, Commander Keith." the royal child care giver said.  "But she's been asking for her parents, wondering when they are coming to take her home too."

Keith nervously bit at his top lip.

The caregiver nodded.  "Yes...we've already been informed about her parents." she replied, conveying that they had already been told that Jennica's parents were dead.

Keith shot the woman a quick smile and then, walked past her.

Jennica was facing the corner with a yellow blanket that had been draped over her shoulders. In her hands, she clung to a stuffed dog toy.

"Jennica..." Keith's voice spoke quietly.

Jennica turned around and upon seeing Keith standing behind her, she immediately got up and ran into his arms...never saying a word.  Keith knelt down, wrapping his arms around her, while placing one hand upon her small head.

She was still...no crying...just...silence.

He held her gently, offering her the support that he so desperately wished her father was here to give.  He closed his eyes tightly... squinting, as if in pain.

The time was now to tell her.

"Jennica," Keith whispered into her ear.  "I have something that I've got to tell you, and I wish with all my heart that I didn't have to."

Jennica grabbed onto Keith tightly.  "Its about my Mommy and Daddy, isn't it?" she said in a small yet sad voice.

This was killing Keith inside. 

It was as if she knew what he was going to tell her... that her parents were dead...as if she could sense it.

"Yes, honey." the Voltron Commander sadly replied.  "I'm...I'm afraid I...uh...I...I'm afraid that I have some...some bad...uh..."

Jennica released him.  "They're not coming
for me, are they, Keith?" she said quietly...little
tears now forming in her eyes.

The tears began to fill up in Keith's
eyes as well.  He opened his
mouth...but nothing would come out.
Instead, his mouth hung open and he began
staring straight ahead, struggling to say anything
at all.


"How can I tell this kid that...that she just lost..." Keith thought to himself.


The sound of voice snapped him out of his trance.

"Mommy and Daddy...are they...did they go to heaven?" she asked Keith, as she pulled away from him to look into his face.

Keith desperately tried to look back at her...but he just couldn't.  Instead, he pulled the child to him again, gripping her tightly as he whispered back to her...

"Yes...yes honey...they've...they've gone to heaven." Keith breathed the words.  "And I'm so sorry, sweetie.  I'm so sorry...that I couldn't do anything to stop it from happening."

Jennica began to cry instantly, repeating the words, 'mommy' and 'daddy'.

As Keith continued to hold Jennica as she wept bitterly...a lone figure had stopped in the doorway...

She had followed Keith, hiding in the
shadows to the children's ward, just
in case he would need her help in
breaking the bad news to little Jennica.

But instead of offering a helping hand
of support, the Princess began to weep
silently at the doorway...watching as
Keith coddled the grieving child.

The scene was all-too familiar in her memory.
She remember how once, many years ago,
her father, King Alfor, had come to her room,
to tell her that Mommy had fallen asleep
for the last time. Allura cried, burying her
face into her father's noble chest, as he too,
coddled her, in very much the same manner
as Keith was coddling Jennica.

The memories came flooding back strong as a fast running river.
Allura turned, and left the ward in silence, having not even alerted
the watching staff that she had been there.

As Allura walked silently down the corridor, her heart went out for the little child.  She felt a kindred spirit somehow with the little girl...reminding herself that the horrors of war were what had taken her own father away from her. And nowit's happened again.


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


Hours had passed...



The Princess had not taken dinner with the rest of the team, as was her usual practice. Instead, she opted to eat in the solitude of the private chambers.

That was the first place Keith had checked to find her.  But when he had arrived, and after several minutes of ringing her door with no answer, he decided to check to see if the door was locked...and to his surprise...it wasn't.

He poked his head in, calling her name out loud, only to find that the only response was the return of his own voice, echoing back at him.

The room was cold and empty...

He walked over to her desk, finding her dinner tray, covered.  Keith lifted the covering and frowned...she hadn't eaten a thing on her plate.

It was perfectly untouched.

He began to wonder where she was.

Now becoming concerned, he walked over to her window and looked out of it...

The sun was going down, on what had become, a very trying day.  He sighed as his eyes caught a glimpse of the fading sunlight...and it was then that his eyes saw something moving on the Castle grounds below...or rather...someone.

Keith smiled, somewhat half-heartedly.  At least...he had found out where she had gone off to.

Staring down to the ground, Keith saw Princess Allura...

She was standing before the monument that marked the spot where her mother, Queen Angelica, had been laid to rest.

Keith's thoughts drifted, as he suddenly sighed...another, 'little girl', hurting from the past she never quite had time to put behind her.

Allura had to deal with her parents' death rather quickly, while the Doom wars raged all around her.  There was little time to grieve for the death of her father.  And as for her mother...Allura was only nine years old when she had lost her mother...only two short years
older than Jennica.

He surmised that the trauma of Jennica's loss had suddenly begun to bring up the painful memories of the Princess's past...much like they had in his own heart, as he periodically thought of his parents as well.

And so...Keith turned and headed for the door, with an intention of going out to see if he needed to hold one more blond-haired girl...who just happened to be the most powerful woman on Planet Arus.

But grief knows no rank and title...and death has no favorites.

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


Allura stood in silence, as the glow of
the setting sun cast its shadows upon
her mother's monument. Her tear-stained
face remained still, as she thought of her
mother's loving touch that she had once
known, for what seemed to be, only a
short time.

The tears rolled down her cheeks, as the
monument seemed to mesmerize the Princess.
She stood quietly, lost in the thoughts that
took her back to the time when she had lived
with her mother and father.  As royal leaders,
they had precious little time to spend with
Allura...but when they did spend time with
herit was a grand event.

Crystal Lake was among those fond memories.

Someone was approaching her from behind...and their presence was now casting an intruding shadow upon her solitude...and upon her mother's monument.


"Allura?"


She recognized the voice as Keith's.

"Are you okay?" he repeated from
behind her.

Allura's head nodded, but she said
nothing in response.

Keith wasn't sure if he should approach, or leave.
But, deciding that she needed a friend, he decided
to take a chance and approach her.  He walked forward, coming to stand beside her.

Allura made no move to look at him...her full attention was on the monument before them both.

Keith said nothing for several minutes, choosing to reflect on the monument and the fact that Allura's mother was buried beneath it.  He felt a sense of sacredness...hollowed ground, as it were, and the thought brought a shiver to his spine.

"Allura," he finally began to say.  "If...if there's anything I can do..."

Before he could finish the sentence...she turned and thrusted herself into his arms...just holding himsaying nothing.

He held her close, offering whatever comfort he could to her.

She tilted her head on his shoulder, in the direction of her mother's grave.  After a few moments, she finally spoke...

"I miss her, Keith." Allura sniffled.  "Especially now...I...I wish I had her wisdom."

"You do." Keith said in a quiet voice.  "If you just looking inside of yourself..."

"No...not like that.  I mean...falling in love...what I'm feeling for you...within myself...I miss my mother.  I'm sure she would be here to give me wisdom and help me sort through my feelings..." she sighed tearfully.

Keith paused...deciding that she needed to talk more than she needed advice.

"And...thinking of Jennica...poor little Jennica..." Allura sadly continued.  "She'll never have that either..."

"Shhh," Keith soothed.  "It'll be okay."

"I know." Allura agreed.  "I guess I've never really gotten over her loss in my life."

"It's probably because you've never allowed yourself to really go through the grieving process." Keith added.  "You grew up so fast, that little Allura never had time to miss the love that her parents gave to her in her life."

Allura nodded solemnly.  "You're right."

Keith took a deep breath and sigh.  "Come on.  I want to take you for a walk in the Castle gardens.  That always seems to brighten your spirits." Keith replied.  "And right now, you could use a boaster."

The Princess nodded her head.

As they started to walk away from the monument, Allura turned once again and looked at it. "You know something?" she said aloud.

"No...what?" Keith asked.

"I think Mother would have approved of you." Allura said.  "You're good for me."

"I hope so." Keith smiled.

She smiled and grabbed his hand. "I know so.  Now, walk me to the gardens, Commander Keith."

As together, they walked hand in hand, for one brief moment...Arus stood still.

But only for a moment...for more trouble was brewing on the horizon.  The coming days would prove to be trying for the young Princess and her friends.
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