"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 34
Another Broken Heart

Coran sat quietly in Castle Control.  His heart was heavy as he listened to Keith bear his soul before him.

Apparently, it was much worse than he had suspected.  The Princess had spurned the affections of the Commander...and now, he was resigning his position as the leader of the Voltron Force, amidst concerns over his own objectivity and concerns over whether he could
command at all.

Keith was honest and forthcoming, as was his practice, and made no excuses for himself, before the Castle Advisor.  His plan was to return to Earth...as quickly as possible.

Coran made no attempt to change Keith's mind...it apparently had been made up.  However, from a security standpoint, Coran had much for Keith to consider, and wasted no time in bringing those concerns to the young commander's attention.

"You do realize, Commander, that your replacement is weeks away.  This could not have come at a worst time." The staunch advisor said with his arms crossed in front of him.

"I realize that, Coran." Keith replied.  "And of course, I'll stay on until we can train someone to take my place."

"I do appreciate your thoughtfulness, Keith." Coran replied.  "However, I am concerned for your welfare in this matter, as well.  I do not wish you to become injured.  Perhaps, a compromise can be made."

"Like what?" Keith asked him.

"Perhaps, if we were to ask Sven to step in, on a temporary basis..." Coran suggested.

"He's probably busy with tactical plans for Pollux." Keith pointed out.  "We have no idea if the G'Donar and Doom are aimed at Arus only or everyone in this sector, starting with Planet Arus.  I'm sure Romelle would feel a lot better, if Sven were on Pollux."

"Would it not serve both planets, if Sven were on the Voltron Force?" Coran suggested. "After all, Pollux is merely twenty minutes travel from Arus, at this juncture, as the orbits of both planets are relatively close to each other at this time of the year."

"I suppose..." Keith replied back solemnly.

Coran studied the Voltron Commander.  "Is it possible that you, yourself, are not completely convinced that leaving Arus is the only option available to you?"

Keith looked up at the royal advisor.  "I'm afraid I have to leave.  I'm jeopardizing the team, if I stay on.

"But is it truly so?" Coran asked again.  "Keith..…you are a fine officer and the finest Lion Knight that Arus has ever known.  You have faithfully served in Allura's court for a near total of five years.  And in all of that time, I have never once seen you as downcast as you are right now.  I believe in you, Keith, and in your ability to lead the team.  The question is...why is it that you do not believe in yourself?"

"I do believe in myself, Coran." Keith rebuked the advisor.  "I just feel its wise to consider what might happen, in light of the situation that exists between Princess Allura and myself. And then, there's my latest tensions with Lance... I believe its just easier if I leave."

"Commander," Coran started to say.

But Keith immediately cut him off...
"Coran, listen...I love Allura!
You know it and I know it!
But she doesn't feel the same
way about me, anymore!  Maybe,
she never really did.  Maybe, I
pushed this whole thing on her,
or maybe, she was just swept up
in the thought of being in love!"

"You can not really believe that she never loved you, Keith." Coran said quietly.  "She loves you, even now... I sense it."

"Glad someone does." Keith mumbled.

"I beg your pardon?" Coran replied.  "I do not believe I heard..."

"What I meant was, that Allura's shut herself completely off from me." Keith explained.  "I can't seem to read her anymore."

"No one can." Coran said softly.  "She has closed herself off from me as well.  But I know the Princess well enough, and I know the look she carries on her face. She has been as miserable these last several days, as you are now."

Keith stood silently.  Coran sighed softly and rose to his feet, stepping down from the Castle Control platform to meet Keith on the floor, face to face.  He gently laid his hand on Keith's left shoulder.

"Keith...I understand what it means to lose someone you love, so dearly." Coran said to him. "I recall when I lost my wife and son.  I wanted nothing more than to close myself off from the rest of the world.  But I had a duty to perform...a duty to my King and his young daughter.  I had to put my personal feelings aside for the greater good of all."

"But you DON'T understand, Coran!  That's what I'm trying to do!" Keith said in a raised tone of voice. "If I stay, I could get someone killed!  My head's not on straight!  I nearly got Lance and the Princess killed last night!  I can't risk their lives or the lives of countless Arusian citizens, just because I can't cope with the fact that Allura and I are through!"

Coran shook his head slowly. "I do understand, Commander.  And of course, whatever you would like to do, I shall accept."

Keith bowed his head slightly. "Thank you."

"I will contact Sven on Pollux immediately." Coran affirmed. "I will see if it is possible for him to come here on a temporary basis."

Keith nodded his head, and then, turned to leave.  He was nearly at the door when Coran called after him.  "Keith...are you going to tell the Princess...or should I?"

Keith paused for a moment, bowing his head in a somewhat shameful manner.  "Would you...mind...telling her for me?"

It was Coran's turn to pause.  "It would be more reasonable, if it were to come from you, instead."

"I know..." Keith said, feeling a lump in his throat suddenly.  "I can't, though.  I can't bring myself to look at her."

"I see..." Coran said, slowly.  "Very well, Commander.  I shall tell the Princess on your behalf."

"Thanks." Keith replied.

He left the room in silence.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The next morning, Jennica was playing in the Castle's playroom.  She was involved in a rousing game of, 'Catch me', the Arusian version of, 'Duck-Duck-Goose'.

Keith leaned up against the door, just content to watch her play happily.

He hated the thought of telling her that he had to leave Arus for good.  The thought had come across his mind to adopt the child and take her with him, but then he realized that it would have been done out of guilt for leaving her behind.

"Jennica!" one of the playroom attendants called out to her.  "You have a visitor!"

Jennica turned around and saw Keith standing at the doorway.  She quickly left the small group of children she had been playing with and ran straight for Keith.  He knelt down to her level and stretched out his arms toward her.  The jubilant little girl rushed into her friend's arms and embraced him affectionately.

"Hi Keith!" Jennica beamed.

"Hey Jennie." Keith replied,
his voice somewhat deflated.

"I'm so glad to see you!"
she giggled joyfully. "What
are you doing here?"

Keith's eyes squinted together. "I...I have to talk to you, Jennie."

The girl moved back a bit...and the smile on her face was priceless.

"What about?" she asked him.  "Did you find me a new mommy and daddy?"

"Uh...no." Keith began, but then, observed the Castle staff looking at the two of them. "Let's go for a walk, shall we?"

"Sure!" the little child giggled once again.  "Where to?"

"Let's go to the Castle gardens." Keith said quietly.  "I...I have something that I have to tell you."

The girl shrugged her shoulders.  "Sure!  Let's go!"

The girl bolted from his arms and out the door into the hallway.  She turned back to look at Keith, expecting him to be right behind her.  But, he was still standing in the same place that he had been in when she first saw him.

"Aren't you coming, silly?" she giggled at him.

"Yeah...yeah, I'm coming." Keith replied softly.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The gardens were freshly tended to.  The ground around the flowers had been freshly tilted and turned. The sweet smell of the garden flowers had an incredible aroma waffling through the air.

As Keith took in a deep breath of the fresh air...his first thought was of Allura. His heart nearly broke in half once again.  His head tilted upward and his eyes caught sight of the ever vigilant Black robot lion, perched high atop of the Lion Monument, ever watching over the land.

He walked Jennica over to his favorite bench...the place he came to when he needed to think or to be by himself.

Together, the two of them sat down on the bench.  Jennica was antsy and was dancing around in her seat, dying to know what Keith wanted to talk about.

Keith bowed his head solemnly.  "Listen...I uh...I brought you out here to...well...to tell you something that's very important...something that you need to hear from me...instead of from someone else."

The little girl paused, looking at Keith intensely.  "You look like you're very sad, Keith.  Did someone call you names and hurt your feelings?"

Keith's mouth slightly opened up.  "No, Jennie.  That's not it."

Jennica stared at him.  "Are you mad at me?  Did I do something wrong?"

Keith quickly looked at her. "No...no I'm not mad at you and you didn't do anything wrong."

"Are you mad at someone else?" Jennica asked, winesomely.

"No...I'm not mad at anyone." Keith replied quietly.

"Then, why are you so sad?" Jennica asked him again.

"I...I want you to know...I...well...I've...I've got to leave Arus." Keith said suddenly.

Jennica paused for what seemed like a long time.  Finally, she said, "How long are going to be away?"

Keith bowed his head toward the ground...wishing he could dig his own heart out.  "I...I don't think I will be coming back, Jennie."

"Not coming back?" Jennie said quietly. "What do you mean...not coming back?"

"I mean...I have to leave...maybe forever." Keith sighed.

The little girl was stunned at the news.  "Why are you leaving?"

"Its not important for you to know why, Jennie." Keith replied.

"It's because of her, isn't it?" Jennie quickly said, turning around to sit forward on the bench and crossing her arms in front of her.  "She's making you leave, isn't she?"

Keith instantly knew she was referring to Allura.  "No...she's not making me leave.  I'm doing this on my own."

"Why do you have to leave?" Jennica asked Keith, her little voice now suddenly strained.

"I just have to, that's all." Keith replied quietly.

"But why?" she asked him, pressing him for an answer.

"You're too young to understand." Keith replied back to her.

"Then, take me with you!" Jennica screamed suddenly.  "You can't leave without me! I won't let you leave...not with out me!"

"I can't take you with me, Jennica.  Arus is your home...its where you belong." Keith replied softly.

"I belong with you, Keith!" Jennica cried, suddenly bursting into tears.

"You belong here on Arus, Jennica." Keith said firmly.  "Now, I can't take you with me, and that's it.  But I will try to stay in touch, okay?"

Jennica began to cry.  "You're leaving me too...just like my mommy and daddy left me."

Keith bowed his head in silence.

The two of them remained absolutely still.

There was some movement in the bushes behind them.  Keith quickly turned his head to look...fearing an enemy.

What he found, instead, was yet another knife to his heart, staring at him straight in the face.

Allura stood behind him...tears were in her eyes.

Jennica turned to look at her too.

Keith stood to his feet. "Princess!" he gasped, startled by her presence in the garden.

"I...I came here...to be alone for awhile." her voice quivered. "Coran just gave me...some...some very...distressing news."

"Allura...I can explain..." Keith started to say, but stopped when Allura rose her hand up to him.

"No...please...don't explain." Allura quietly said.  "I can't believe that you couldn't come and tell me yourself."

"I wanted to tell you, Allura!" Keith replied defensively.  "I did! Believe me!  I just...didn't know how to say it, without hurting you."

"It's the least you could have done." Allura sobbed.  "Why are you leaving me now?"

"I can't stay here anymore!  You know why I can't stay here!" Keith blurted out loud.

"All I know is that you're running away!" she shouted.

"What choice is there left for me?!?" Keith shouted back.

"I...I don't want you to leave, Keith." Allura replied...her voice suddenly quiet.

Keith shook his head. "I can't stay...I can't!"

"Maybe...in the future...you and I could..." Allura began to say.

"NO!" Keith shouted suddenly.  "No maybes!  Not we'll sees!  You either love me, or you don't!  And you've made it pretty clear that you don't!  Now, I'm making it clear to you! I can't stay here...I can't command when I can't be objective! I...I..."

"Keith!" Allura cried back. "Please!"

"NO!  Now, I've made up my mind, and you've made up yours.  It's as simple as that!" Keith replied.  "It...it just wasn't meant to be between us."

Allura's lower lip quivered. Keith stared at her for a moment, then turned and took Jennica's hand.  "I've got to get Jennica back to the playroom."

Keith quickly grabbed Jennica's hand and pulled her along the path leading to the Castle. Allura watched him leave, and instantly, she fell to her knees in tears.

"I...I do love you, Keith." Allura wept quietly.  "I do love you...only...for your sake, I can't love you!"

As Allura continued to weep in the garden...another was watching the scene unfold below his view from an observation room that was overlooking the Castle gardens.

He saw Keith shouting at Allura.  He saw Allura stretch out her hand toward Keith. And he saw Keith grab for the little girl and storm out of the garden, when he then saw Allura crumble to the ground.

Hunk's eyes burned with anger at his commander.
How could Keith shout at the Princess like that?

Lance had told him that Keith was planning on
leaving Arus...over his falling out with Allura.
But this was no reason to disrespect her in
that fashion.  She was not only a Princess...
but she was a woman.  And if he had learned
nothing else in his life, Hunk had learned
never to disrespect a woman.

Now...Keith had gone too far.  He made her cry.  And no one makes her cry without hearing a rebuke from Hunk.

Angry beyond measure, Hunk turns on one heel and left the observation deck.  He'd have his say with Keith later.  And Keith wasn't going to like what he had to say.

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