**Voltron and its characters are a trademark and copyright of World
Event Productions. All relative disclaimers apply. All rights
reserved by WEP. All other characters are a copyright of me.
A Sorrowful Return to Reality
What was before . . .
Keith nodded once more to his friends, and then he turned and walked over to where Audra stood. Now standing side by side with wicked woman, Keith turned and managed one last smile for the benefit of those he called "family". But then, he balled hand into a tight fist and with triumph in his tone, raised his voice above the sorrow, exclaiming . . .
"ARUS FOREVER! LONG LIVE, PRINCESS ALLURA! LONG LIVE VOLTRON!"
Allura immediately burst into tears.
Keith brought his arm down once again... and shouted firmly... "GO VOLTRON FORCE! DON'T GIVE UP THE FIGHT!"
His eyes locked with Allura's teary stare. "I love you, Allura. I always have and I always will."
"I'll be smiling for you tomorrow!" she cried out to him.
"Remember Allura . . .We are forever united!"
"Forever united . . ." the Princess repeated sorrowfully.
The green mist overtook Keith and Audra and suddenly their images began to fade.
Allura immediately darted out toward them both, screaming, "NO! TAKE ME WITH YOU! DON'T LEAVE ME! KEITH! KEEEEITH!!"
Keith closed his eyes, unable to look upon her.
Hunk and Coran quickly grabbed the Princess from either side while Pidge ran in front of her. She twisted in their grip, begging demanding to be released.
"KEITH! KEITH!! COME BACK!"
"I LOVE YOU, ALLURA! STAND STRONG AND NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS - NEVER GIVE UP!" his voice echoed ust as he and Audra faded from sight.
"NO!" Allura shrieked as she crumbled to the ground in utter anguish. "No...no..."
Hunk and Pidge knelt down on either side of her, trying to comfort the Princess and themselves as well.
"I shouldn't have let him go!" she screamed, at first in anger, then in sorrow. "I shouldn't have let him GO! KEITH!!"
"It'll be all right, Princess!" Hunk cried out to her.
"We're here, Allura!" Pidge added.
Three-thirty in the early morning . . . and sleep still had not found the distraught Princess.
Her heart was broken. She could think of nothing except the horror of this night. Keith was gone, this time forever. She didn't know where he was or even how he was. Dear God! What was that creature doing to him? What horrors is he facing at this very moment?
Allura was lying quietly on her stomach, cradling her head in her arms, pillows askew upon her bed. There would be no sleep for her tonight, and the thought of ever sleeping again was hard to imagine. Her dreams would only betray her.
Dr. Gorma had been twice to see her, trying to administer something that would aid her in falling asleep. She refused his potions on both occasions. Instead, the Princess ordered everyone away, asking not to be disturbed for the remainder of the night.
Coran reluctantly abided by her wishes for solitude.
As she laid there, her mind was consumed with the last, tearful farewell between herself and Keith, just before he . . . he . . .
"Oh, Keith," she sobbed. "My Keith. Why . . . why?"
She knew the answer to the question and she knew it well. He did it for her. Allura knew that it was something he felt he simply had to do.
In saving her life, Keith had sacrificed his own freedom, but for what purpose? What ultimately did she have to live for now? And yet she promised Keith that she would go on . . .
A buzz came to her door...she chose to ignore it, wanting to remain alone, grieving the loss of her dearest love.
"Keith . . ." she quietly repeated his name aloud. "Keith . . . No Keith . . .No please . . ."
The door buzzed again and then a third time.
Frustrated and tired, Allura rose from her bed with a leap, marching straight for the entrance to her chambers. She knew it wasn't Marie, her personal maid. She had dismissed her for the evening and asked that she too, not disturb her for the rest of the night. Marie would not be the one buzzing her door at this hour...
"Whoever you are, I order you to go away!" she shouted through the door.
Allura paused . . . the voice . . . it was so familiar . . .
"Lance?" she said in a whispered voice and then, she repeated the name of the Red Lion Knight in a normal tone. "Lance . . . is . . . .is that you?"
"Yes, its me. Open up, Allura, please . . . I've got to talk to you."
She quickly released the security lock and the door immediately slid open, revealing Lance to her sight, standing on the other side in the corridor. His head was downcast and his facial expressions, grim. She immediately threw herself into his arms.
"Lance . .. . Lance, I . . . I thought you were on Pollux still."
"I was, but I came back just a short time ago," Lance replied. "Sven called and told Coran that we were coming. It took us almost two hours to make Arus's orbit because the rotational positions between Pollux and Arus are beginning to shift. I'm here now. Didn't Coran tell you we were on the way?"
"No," she replied quietly, looking away from Voltron's second in command. Then she "Lance, there's . . . there's something I must tell you. Keith is . . . "
"I know," Lance replied, sparing her the agony of explanation. "Coran told Sven and me the second we got to the Castle."
The Princess buried her head into Lance's chest and he gently embraced the fragile creature in his arms, trying to be the comfort he sensed she needed and that he needed too.
"I feel sick. I never got the chance to . . . to say . . . goodbye to him Allura," Lance lamented, trying not to break down. "I feel cheated . . . "
"I know," the Princess sobbed. "But it's better that you hadn't. It . . . it was awful, Lance. This woman . . . Audra . . . .she threatened to kill me if Keith didn't go with her. And now he's gone and I'm having a hard time dealing with it . . .. wondering if there wasn't some other way . . . wondering if I'll ever see him again."
Lance said nothing. Allura blink her eyes rapidly as the tears began to come down faster and harder.
"We will never see him again, will we?" she wept softly into his ear.
Lance closed his eyes and just continued to hold her, whispering "I don't know."
"Oh Lance . . . Lance . . . I could just die," Allura sobbed.
"Shhh, it'll be okay. Old Lance is here. I'll see you're safe," the Red Lion pilot quietly repeated.
"I'm not worried for myself," the Princess said to him. "Keith . . . all alone out there . . . . somewhere . . . facing who knows what."
"I know." Lance said to her before finally taking in a deep breath of air. He then parted from her to look her in the eyes. "But we can't make his sacrifice a vain memory. We have to act on it. He loved Arus, the people, you . . .
"Knowing Keith as I do, his sacrifice was for everyone's greater good. We can't let it go down in flames! We have to pick up where he left off and keep walking forward! If we
give up now, what Keith did here will be wasted! We can't let that happen!"
Allura took the back of her hand and wiped her tears from her eyes. She then, nodded slowly to Lance.
"I'm told . . . you're the new Voltron Commander." Lance quietly said to her.
She quickly shook her head. "I don't know what Keith was thinking of when he said that. I have no military command training. I would be liability, not an asset. You take the team, Lance. You're the one with the military training. I . . . "
"Nothing doing, Princess!" Lance shouted back to her. "Keith knew exactly what he was doing when he left you in charge. He was right, much as I don't like to admit it. I'm no good as a leader. I'm an impulsive hothead I guess."
"That's not completely true, Lance," Allura said quietly.
"Sure it is. You know it, I know it, and you're just trying to be nice about it!" Lance snickered slightly. He grabbed her hands and held them in his. "Keith trained you, himself. He knows what you're capable of. And if he didn't believe you could do the job, he would have never left you in command. You can do it, Princess!"
"But . . . I don't know the first thing about being a military leader," she said to him.
"Absolutely you do!" Lance replied back, boisterously. "You're a
Princess...that makes you a the best possible leader!"
"Being a Princess doesn't necessarily qualify someone to be a military leader." Allura replied back, carefully. "I still think you should take the lead."
"What? And have Keith thinking I took it from you when he comes homeagain?" Lance smirked.
Allura suddenly looked up at Lance's face. Then, she saw his head nod up and down, determinably.
"Lance, what are you trying to say?" she question him, curiously.
"If you think I'm going to just stand around and do nothing, forget it!" Lance replied back. "I'm going to figure out a way to find Keith and to bring him back home, where he belongs."
"Do . . . do you really think we can?" Allura asked in a whimsical voice.
"I know we can!" Lance replied back. "And the first thing we're going to do is find out anything and everything we can about this Audra chick! And the one person I know that can help us with that is Pidge."
Allura fell into Lance's arms once again and he covered her with his embrace. As good as she felt there he knew she wasn't his. Her heart and destiny belonged with his best friend. He saw his roll as merely a caretaker...for a time.
Somehow, Keith had to be found . . . and Audra, stopped.